It’s that time of the year! It is berry season, and a special set of visitors is showing up on the Moose-Wilson road to dine. The area’s bear population is out and about, looking for hawthorn and chokecherry berries before they hibernate for the winter.
Park officials from the Grand Teton National Park have asked visitors to help the bears enjoy their mealtime in peace. With a steady stream of cars, cameras, and tourists, the bears face potential threats, particularly as they’re increasingly on the move, searching for food.
Why These Berries Matter
For the bears of Grand Teton, these berries provide an essential food source that ensures they have enough fat reserves to sustain them through their long winter hibernation.
Minimizing Human-Bear Conflicts
Given that safety for both the bears and visitors is the park’s main concern, their guidelines are as follows:
- Listen to the Experts: If park staff are managing bear viewings, heed their directions. They’re trained to handle these situations.
- Stay Inside your car: Observe the bears from the safety of your vehicle. Drive by slowly and cherish the sight.
- Mind the Signs: Parking restrictions are there for a reason. Ensure you’re not blocking the bears’ path or causing undue congestion.
- Honor Temporary Closures: Sometimes, areas are closed off to give bears the foraging space they need. Respect these zones.
- Caution While Driving: Slow down. With bears frequently crossing, vigilance is essential.
- Be Considerate: Help the park offer a memorable experience for everyone. Be patient and avoid disturbing the foraging bears.
Park officials caution that if bear activity spikes, the Moose-Wilson Road may be subject to temporary closures.
As per federal regulations, it’s crucial to maintain a safe distance from these magnificent creatures:
- 100 yards (91 meters) from bears and wolves
- 25 yards (23 meters) from other wildlife
Interested in more insights about bears, viewing them safely, or the correct use of bear spray? Visit go.nps.gov/tetonbears. Additionally, if you’re lucky enough to spot a bear within the park, be sure to report your sighting at the nearest visitor center.
Stay safe, respect nature, and enjoy the wondrous sights that Grand Teton has to offer this berry season!
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