Camp restrictions posted at Rising Sun due to bear activity

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A bear strolls through the brush in Glacier National Park. (Daniel McKay/Whitefish Pilot file)

Rising Sun Campground along the Going-to-the-Sun Road on the east side of Glacier National Park is temporarily limited to hard-sided camping because of black bear activity, park officials said Thursday.

This means tents and soft-sided campers will not be permitted until further notice. Camper vehicles such as Volkswagen buses and pickup trucks with small canvas pop-ups are allowed as long as the canvas is not exposed.

On Tuesday afternoon a black bear clawed and shook a tent, and entered the rainfly vestibule. There were no known attractants or food rewards in the tent. The tent was not occupied.

Berries are abundant at this time of year, and the cliffs above the campground are a known wildlife corridor.

The bear appeared similar to one that found an abandoned picnic near St. Mary Lake on Monday afternoon. It was only minimally responsive to hazing efforts. The park will attempt to capture the bear for further management action, park officials said in a press release.

Once bears have successfully obtained unnatural food from people or become accustomed to foraging in developed areas, it is very difficult to change their behavior to return to wild areas and natural food sources. Bears that have received a human food reward often become a safety hazard, becoming increasingly aggressive seeking out and obtaining subsequent food rewards.

Glacier National Park has a proactive bear management program that seeks to prevent bear/human conflicts through public education, bear-wise waste management, aggressive enforcement of food storage regulations, and application of hazing and aversive conditioning techniques to teach bears to avoid humans and developed areas.

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