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Yellowstone News • Re: Yellowstone kills aggressive bear near Heart Lake

BT, what kind of "other Park options" did the Park have, other than to kill the bear or relocate it? The questions that I posed were based solely on the content of the Official YNP news release about the incident at Heart Lake, along with my own personal observations, knowledge and experience with campers, bears and bear behavior. I have the utmost respect for Kerry Gunther and Chris Servheen and would never question their decision to put down a bear. In fact, the Park has made great strides over the years, increasing the Yellowstone grizzly bear population to healthy levels. It's a success story that Yellowstone can be proud of. IMO, most of that success, was due to better Yellowstone bear management and making Yellowstone visitors and campers more "bear aware". Hopefully, the questions that I posed were some of the same questions asked by bear management and Park officials before the decision was made to kill this bear. Kind of a moot point now...You may want to read this June 2017 NY Times article: ... -list.html

Statistics: Posted by yellvet — Wed Oct 11, 2017 10:43 am

Author: yellvet
Posted: October 11, 2017, 4:43 pm

Yellowstone News • Re: Yellowstone kills aggressive bear near Heart Lake

That is a lot of if's and but's. I guess I don't share your same skepticism that the Park Service resorts to killing a bear when it has other options.

Statistics: Posted by BeartoothTucker — Fri Oct 06, 2017 5:58 pm

Author: BeartoothTucker
Posted: October 6, 2017, 11:58 pm

Yellowstone News • Hunter survives sow grizzly attack (near Pacific Creak TH)

Carr said Moore had bear spray in his pack and a rifle in his hand, but the attack happened so quickly that neither was used. ... 451c7.html

Statistics: Posted by andrew — Wed Sep 27, 2017 9:09 am

Author: andrew
Posted: September 27, 2017, 3:09 pm

Yellowstone News • Re: RIP River Road

We found it a few years back and so only got to drive it once. We really enjoyed and it would be nice to have it back.

Statistics: Posted by Alicia — Wed Sep 20, 2017 10:06 pm

Author: Alicia
Posted: September 21, 2017, 4:06 am

Yellowstone News • Re: Yellowstone kills aggressive bear near Heart Lake

Based on the chronological history of this young griz (which appears in the press release) I bet many people have the same concerns as I do.

In 2015, the young bear began exhibiting bold behavior toward people. So, how does the Park discern "bold" behavior from "curious" bear behavior or the behavior of a hungry bear that is going through the normal annual bear stage called "hyperphagia"? (fattening up before winter hibernation). Is it ethical to kill a bear for exhibiting its natural instinctive behavior?

Bears, both black and grizzly bears, typically, will investigate campsites and tents when they smell odors coming from food, beverages, camping and/or personal items that haven't been properly stored. So did anyone search the Heart Lake campsite or search the tents for any food or odorous items before the bear was killed? More importantly, many Park visitors can't tell the difference between a grizzly bear and a black bear. So was the right bear put down? More importantly, if the Park knew that an aggressive grizzly was in the Heart Lake area, why were the visitors issued a camping permit in the first place? Or, at a minimum, why didn't a back country ranger check on the campers, warn them about the grizzly and tell them to camp at a developed campground for their own safety?(Norris or Indian Creek)

In 2015 WY game personnel captured and tagged the bear and, reportedly, relocated it to the Caribou Targhee NF. So did the bear that was put down this month have the same ID tag as the bear that was relocated 2 years ago? The press release says that it was the same bear but how does anyone know for sure that it was same bear? For folks who aren't aware of this, relocating a bear is very costly. So, it's usually more cost effective and productive to put a perceived "problem bear" down. But perception is not the same thing as reality.

In 2016 the bear had reportedly entered campsites in the Heart Lake area and had destroyed tents, sleeping, bags and sleeping pads. So, how did bear management personnel know that it was the same bear? Or did they just "assume" that it was the same bear? For the past two summers, I've seen two grizzlies traveling together and foraging in the Slough Creek area. So, for anyone to assume that only one grizzly can be in one area, is simply not true. Several years ago, a similar incident happened in the Slough Creek back country. Campers had left their dinner unattended by the campfire and a bear showed up and ate it. The campers ran back to the CG and told the host that the bear had attacked them. But that never happened according to the camper that I talked to. They had left their food out in the open by the fire and the bear snatched it. The bear had never attacked them. But for eating their dinner, the bear was labeled as being aggressive and was put down.

The press release says that everything had been done to change the bear's behavior...having tried bean bags, rubber bullets and cracker rounds. When a bear instinctively needs food because it's in hyperphagia, then it will search and find food regardless of traps or the use of aversive conditioning. Since the press release says that the bear had been able to elude the traps that had been set for it in prior years, why would bear management think that traps would work in September, 2017? My theory is that they knew that the bear was in its hyperphagia phase and that it needed to eat. So setting a trap baited with a yummy blueberry compote would likely entice the bear into the trap. Well, it worked. But was it necessary to end the life of a young grizzly that was only doing what came to it, naturally, out of a necessity to survive?

So what did the rangers find at the campsite? Did they find any food or odorous items in the campers' tents or in or by their fire pit? Did they even bother to look? If the campers left anything out in the open in an active grizzly area, then the campers should have been cited for improper food storage, at a minimum. I blame the Park and the campers for the death of this young grizzly. It was a tragedy that should never have happened. As paid stewards of Yellowstone wildlife, Park rangers should never have issued a camping permit to anyone for a site that was in a known and active grizzly bear area, no matter how experienced the campers were. The campsites should have been closed when the grizzly was first sighted near Heart Lake in 2016, instead of waiting until after the bear was destroyed. And, most particularly, because of the bear's prior history of being aggressive toward people. Shame on all of you!!

This isn't the first time a needless bear tragedy has happened in Yellowstone. And it probably won't be the last until such time that 1)rangers start following the Park's bear management policies and procedures and the Park's bear hazing protocol and 2) until such time that visitors are vetted more closely for back country camping and 3) campers start complying with the Yellowstone camping rules and regs and the extra precautions that need to be taken when camping in bear country. If you're interested in finding out more about this incident, then I highly recommend that you request a copy of the final investigation report of the incident. Just write a letter to the Park's FOIA officer and request a copy of the report. The Park has to respond to your request within 30 days. If this bear was continually endangering the lives of campers and was destroying personal property, then it needed to be put down. But I also know from personal experience that, all too often, it's much easier, faster and cheaper to kill a bear than it is to spend the money and time to relocate it. How sad that bears always seem to pay the ultimate price with their lives for the lack of understanding, incompetence and complacency of well-meaning humans.

Statistics: Posted by yellvet — Wed Sep 20, 2017 9:00 pm

Author: yellvet
Posted: September 21, 2017, 3:00 am

Yellowstone News • Yellowstone kills aggressive bear near Heart Lake

Didn't seem like they had much of a choice...

Statistics: Posted by andrew — Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:09 pm

Author: andrew
Posted: September 15, 2017, 4:09 am

Yellowstone News • Re: New Trail & Overlook Protect Yellowstone's Resources

Just checked out the Park pix of the new Grand Prismatic trail and overlook. What a huge improvement! Can't wait to see it next year. Many thanks to everyone who worked on the did good! :)

Statistics: Posted by yellvet — Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:21 am

Author: yellvet
Posted: August 28, 2017, 4:21 pm

Yellowstone News • Re: New Trail & Overlook Protect Yellowstone's Resources

We hiked the trail just after it opened. Kind of hot without much shade during the midday, but other than that it has a great view of Grand Prismatic, well worth the hike. It is just under a mile, nice and wide, with a gradual climb.

Statistics: Posted by billandkaren — Sat Aug 26, 2017 5:29 pm

Author: billandkaren
Posted: August 26, 2017, 11:29 pm

Yellowstone News • Re: Senior Park Pass cost is increasing

MGB, thought I'd provide a little background for those who aren't familiar with the bear box project originated by the Yellowstone Foundation. Since a good sturdy bear box is expensive, the Foundation partnered with the state of MT so Yellowstone advocates from MT could buy custom Yellowstone license plates. I bought my first custom Yellowstone plate in 2011 and have renewed the plate every year since. According to the Yellowstone Foundation, part of the money received from the purchase/renewal of a custom Yellowstone plate is donated to the Yellowstone Foundation to help fund various projects, ie: adding new bear boxes at the Yellowstone campgrounds as well as replacing the old, vintage ones.

I've been camping at Slough Creek every year since 1978. I would have thought that, by now, the Foundation would have taken the initiative to see to it that all the handicap campsites in Yellowstone would have an EZ to open bear box, especially, since the MT/Yellowstone custom license plate program has been in place since at least 2011. Since then, I have voiced my concerns numerous times about the poor condition of the bear box at the SC handicap site not only to the local Tower rangers but also to the Yellowstone campground supervisor, the SC campground host(s) and to the campground maintenance workers. Since physically disabled campers at Slough Creek are still expected to use a vintage bear box, my husband and I plan to submit our concerns directly to the Park Super. on the feedback form that we were asked to fill out, at the end of our visit this summer. If that doesn't work, then I plan to share my concerns with DOI Sec. Zinke. It's beyond me as to why the vast majority of the SC camp sites have the new bear boxes, while the very campers who need a functional, easy-to-open bear box the most (the physically disabled), are still expected to use a bear box that's falling apart or won't open, without the help of another person. That's shameful!! A few years ago, when the rangers were putting on the adhesive, donator nameplate sticker on the bear box at our site, I asked them why the handicap site (located next to us) didn't have one of the new bear boxes. They couldn't give me an answer. So until such time that a new bear box is installed at the SC handicap site (Site #12 in 2017), I'm going back to buying a generic MT license plate next year. Hopefully, someone in Park management will see this post and will remedy this situation before the 2018 Park visitor season begins. To see any disabled camper have to struggle with one of the old, hard-to-open bear boxes, breaks my heart. The one in the SC handicap site should have been replaced years ago. It doesn't take a brain surgeon to identify which bear boxes need to be replaced. They're the ones that have a big heavy chain bolted to each end of the door, with HD steel fasteners bolted to the bear box.

On a positive note, I'd like to mention that the new bear boxes are absolutely wonderful!!! The interior storage space is more than adequate and you don't have the strength of Hercules to get the doors open. So many thanks to all the people who were involved in choosing the design and vendor for the new bear boxes. They're GREAT!!!

Statistics: Posted by yellvet — Mon Aug 14, 2017 3:35 pm

Author: yellvet
Posted: August 14, 2017, 9:35 pm

Yellowstone News • Re: Senior Park Pass cost is increasing

Yellvet, I agree wholeheartedly about the importance of bear boxes and you certainly seem to have identified a genuine need: replacing the "vintage" one at the Slough Creek handicap site, but I have to ask, had you previously tired to locate the person responsible for deciding what ones to replace and where to put new ones? Have you done so now?

If all you're doing about it is to buy a generic license plate, I don't think they will get the message.... OTOH, If you've already communicated your suggestion to the proper decision maker, maybe you could let the rest of us know who that is so that we can support your idea! I for one would be happy to send a letter or email.

Best regards,


Statistics: Posted by MGoBlue — Sun Aug 13, 2017 11:02 am

Author: MGoBlue
Posted: August 13, 2017, 5:02 pm

Yellowstone News • Re: Yellowstone Visitation Thus Far This Year

I am not sure why, but I wish it could decrease a little more.

Statistics: Posted by RikWriter — Thu Aug 10, 2017 3:47 am

Author: RikWriter
Posted: August 10, 2017, 9:47 am

Yellowstone News • Yellowstone Visitation Thus Far This Year

While Glacier National Park is experiencing an all-time high in visitation, Yellowstone's numbers have decreased from last year. Why? ... 637c3.html

Statistics: Posted by Bruce — Wed Aug 09, 2017 9:12 pm

Author: Bruce
Posted: August 10, 2017, 3:12 am

Yellowstone News • Re: Senior Park Pass cost is increasing

Seniors, like myself, who purchased senior passes many years ago have really saved a bundle over the years. Especially, with respect to entrance and camping fees. I always felt kind of guilty about the amount of money that I was saving. That's why I started buying MT custom Yellowstone license plates. A portion of the fee goes to the Yellowstone Foundation so the Park can buy and install new bear boxes at the campgrounds. To me, this seemed like a good way to help fund one of the most important things needed in the Park...more bear boxes at the campgrounds. But, after 39 years of camping in the Park, I was absolutely appalled this year when I saw one of the old, vintage bear boxes (with chains on the door) still at the handicap site at the Slough Creek campground. Why hadn't it been replaced? One would think that the handicap site would have the newest and the best bear box available. But, sadly, that wasn't the case. So, until such time that the Park installs a new EZ to-open bear box at the Slough Creek handicap site (Site #12), I'm going back to buying generic MT license plates. I'm tired of seeing folks struggling with that useless bear box in the handicap site. Reportedly, the Yellowstone Foundation spent an estimated $7K on the informational kiosk (wood sign) at Slough Creek. So it seems to me that if the Foundation can spend that kind of money on a wood poster board, then it can certainly afford to spend the money needed to accommodate a physically disabled camper.

As for the senior pass increase, the Park could certainly use the extra money. But $80 seems pretty hefty in light of the fact that most seniors are on fixed incomes and the old price was $10. As long as seniors would still be able to get a 50% discount on their camp site fees, then I guess I wouldn't object to the increase since it's still a bargain for most seniors. My biggest concern (and complaint) has more to do with how the Park spends the money that it has. When it takes 3 Park employees to place a stick-on, adhesive nameplate on a bear box or when it takes 3 workers to move a garbage container 5', not only is there something wrong with this but it also represents a huge waste of an employee's time and the taxpayer's money. My sincerest hope is that Secretary Zinke (former Rep. from MT) will make Yellowstone accountable for the existing funding that it has before he requests more funding from Congress or makes seniors pick up the tab for the Park's management shortcomings.

Statistics: Posted by yellvet — Thu Aug 03, 2017 4:49 pm

Author: yellvet
Posted: August 3, 2017, 10:49 pm

Yellowstone News • Re: Senior Park Pass cost is increasing

Yes, I got my Senior Pass last year, as soon as I could get it. At only $10 for lifetime entry to NPs and NMs, it is an incredible deal. In fairness, that is probably unreasonably cheap, and a higher price for lifetime admission is warranted. It costs a lot of money to maintain these parks, and seems reasonable for those who use the parks to contribute a bit more to the cost. BTW, when I got my pass, the info said that if you lose your pass, there's no provision to look up the fact that you bought it and you will have to purchase another one. At $10, that's no big deal, but at $80 it behooves a holder to keep a good hold on their pass!

Statistics: Posted by mdtrot — Tue Aug 01, 2017 11:16 am

Author: mdtrot
Posted: August 1, 2017, 5:16 pm

Yellowstone News • Re: Any word on the Mammoth Inn remodel?

The first phase should be completed about now, but I've not heard anything to that effect, and have not dropped by Mammoth in recent weeks.

Statistics: Posted by Bruce — Tue Aug 01, 2017 8:54 am

Author: Bruce
Posted: August 1, 2017, 2:54 pm

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