The following is a news release from the Gallatin National Forest Office.
Forest officials instituted a public safety emergency closure for the Teepee Creek Trailhead and portions of the Teepee Creek Trail (Forest Service Trail # 39) today due to a grizzly bear foraging on a carcass near the trailhead. The Teepee Creek Trailhead and Trail are located about 15 miles south of Big Sky.
The trail will be closed for about 1.25 miles, from the trailhead to the junction with Forest Service Trail #95 (Crown Butte Trail). Both the trail and the trailhead will remain closed until the carcass is consumed. The Forest, in close coordination with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks will closely monitor the situation so the trail and trailhead can be reopened as soon as it is safe to do so.
"With the poor whitebark pine cone crop and snow at higher elevations, bears are in the lower country this time of year looking for food," said Marna Daley, Custer Gallatin National Forests Public Affairs Officer. "This bear bluff charged a hiker earlier today. Closing portions of the trail and the trailhead will limit additional encounters and help keep both people and the bear safe."
Some general guidelines to stay safe in bear country include:
· Following food storage guidelines;
· Carrying bear spray;
· Hiking in groups of 3 or more;
· Staying alert for bears at all times; and
· Making noise so you don't surprise bears.
If you encounter a bear, do not run, slowly back away to put distance between you and the bear. This often diffuses the confrontation. If the bear charges, stand your ground and use your bear spray. In most cases the bear will break off the charge or veer away. If the bear makes contact, drop to the ground face down on your stomach, with your hands clasped behind your neck and lie still. Make sure the bear is gone before moving.