WEST GLACIER, MT – A Kalispell woman in her thirties collided with what is believed to be a young grizzly bear while trail running on Huckleberry Lookout Trail. She was able to walk back down the trail with friends and met the rangers just as they arrived at the trailhead. The woman self-transported to Kalispell Regional Medical Center for further treatment and evaluation.
The woman sustained minor, non-life-threatening injuries to the head and arm. The surprise encounter occurred on Saturday, July 11 in the morning hours, about four miles down Huckleberry Lookout Trail, and was reported to dispatch at 9:00 am. The woman was running the trail with two other people and was the lead runner when she and the bear collided. The woman and the bear tumbled together off the trail. Once separated, the bear ran off.
Rangers checked the scene and determined it was a surprise encounter with no further issues. There are no other reports of the bear or additional encounters on the trail. Rangers posted the trail for bear frequenting but have not closed the trail.
The last injury by a grizzly bear was on August 27, 2016 when a park employee, while off duty picking huckleberries in the Swiftcurrent Valley, surprised what was believed to be a grizzly bear. She sustained non-life-threatening injuries to the leg and hands.
Visitors to Glacier National Park are reminded that the park is home to black and grizzly bears. Trail running in grizzly habitat is dangerous because runners traveling quickly and quietly through bear habitat have a higher risk of surprising grizzly bears at close range. Glacier National Park discourages trail running in order to protect the public and the bears.
Hikers are highly encouraged to hike in groups, make noise when hiking, and have bear spray accessible and know how to use it. For information on trail closures in the park, visit the park’s trail status webpage.
It is especially important that visitors keep campgrounds and developed areas clean and free of food and trash. Regulations require that all edibles, food containers, and cookware be stored in a hard-sided vehicle or food locker when not in use, day or night. Place all trash in bear-proof containers. Do not burn waste in fire rings or leave litter around your camp. Fire rings should be free of trash before vacating a campsite.
For more information about recreating in bear country, please visit the park’s bear safety webpage.