A Yellowstone National Park visitor was injured by a grizzly bear while hiking near Old Faithful.
According to a park press release, the 37-year-old woman from Missouri was hiking alone on the Fairy Falls Trail when she encountered two grizzly bears "at very close range."
One of the bears knocked the woman down and she suffered a scratch on her thigh. The woman also received minor injuries to her face from the fall. She declined medical attention.
The park said the woman attempted to use bear spray during the encounter.
“From the injured person’s statements, this appears to be a typical case of a mother grizzly bear protecting her offspring following a close-range encounter,” said bear management biologist Kerry Gunther. “Because this bear was displaying natural protective behavior for its cub, no action will be taken against the bear. Several trails in the area will be closed to give the grizzly family group time to clear from the area.”
This is the first incident of a bear injuring a visitor in Yellowstone in 2020. The last time a bear injured a visitor in the park was in June 2019 when a black bear bit into an occupied tent and bruised a woman’s thigh.
Following the incident, the Fairy Falls Trail was cleared of hikers. The trail and surrounding area has been temporarily closed.
The park provided these guidelines to protect yourself and bears while hiking in bear country:
- Hike in groups of three or more people
- Carry bear spray [nps.gov] and know how to use it
- Be alert and make noise
- Stay out of areas that are closed for bear management [nps.gov]
- Don’t hike at dawn, dusk, or at night when grizzly bears are most active
- If need be, turn around and go the other way to avoid interacting with a wild animal
- Wildlife in Yellowstone National Park are wild. When an animal is near a trail, boardwalk, parking lot, or in a developed area, give it space. Stay 25 yards (23 m) away from all large animals - bison, elk, bighorn sheep, deer, moose, and coyotes and at least 100 yards (91 m) away from bears and wolves.