Bear activity prompts camping restrictions at Rising Sun

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An undated file photo of a black bear. (Hungry Horse News file)

Camping restrictions are in place at Glacier Park’s Rising Sun Campground after a suspected bear ripped into the side of a tent on Friday and pulled out bedding and pillows.

The campground along the Going-to-the-Sun Road on the east side of the park is temporarily limited to hard-sided camping. This means that tents and soft-sided campers will not be allowed until further notice. Camper vehicles such as VW buses and pickup trucks with small canvas pop-ups are allowed as long as the canvas is not exposed.

Wildlife staff evaluated the campsite, obtained hair samples believed to be from a bear, and found an adult-sized scat pile in the area where the pillows were found. There were no known attractants or food in the tent.

Park staff have observed transient bear activity in the Rising Sun Campground for the past two weeks. Berries are abundant, and the cliffs above the campground are a known wildlife corridor.

“Because there were no witnesses to this incident the park cannot determine which bear or bears are responsible, and therefore cannot make a determination about whether the actions were due to habituation, food-conditioning, or curiosity,” the park stated in a press release.

The park placed a decoy tent and game camera in the campground area to monitor activity. No attractants will be placed in the decoy tent.

In June, the park enacted similar camping restrictions at Many Glacier Campground after a small grizzly bear entered the campground and compelled two campers to move away from a picnic table where they were cleaning two recently caught trout. The restrictions were lifted in mid-July.

Visitors and residents are urged to learn more about the importance of food storage while living and recreating in bear country for bear and human safety.

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