Bears are out of hibernation and active again in both Grand Teton National Park and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway. Now that bears are awake, appropriate precautions must be taken. Park visitors and local residents need to exercise common sense and good judgment, stay alert, and follow these recommended safety precautions while skiing or hiking in Grand Teton National Park and the Rockefeller Parkway:
• Make noise
• Travel in a group of three or more
• Carry bear spray and know how to use it
• Maintain a 100-yard distance from bears at all times
• Never approach or feed a bear under any circumstance
Access to human food and garbage is a death sentence to a bear. Black and grizzly bears that learn humans are an easy source for food items can become a nuisance, as well as a safety concern. Food-conditioned bears are often removed from the population via management actions such as relocation or euthanization.
Park visitors are reminded to keep food, garbage and other odorous items unavailable to bears at all times by storing these attractants inside hard-sided vehicles, by disposing of garbage in bear-resistant trash cans or dumpsters, and by keeping personal items—such as backpacks—within arms' reach at all times. It may be a cliché; however more often than not, "a fed bear is a dead bear."
Visitors are asked to report bear sightings or sign to the nearest visitor center or ranger station as soon as possible. Timely reporting will help park staff provide important safety messages about bear activity to other visitors.
For further information on bear safety behaviors when hiking, camping or picnicking in bear country, visit the park's safety tips webpage.