Despite the presence of a lot of snow in Yellowstone National Park, some big furry animals with long teeth and claws are deciding it is spring.
On March 1st, park employees noticed grizzly bear tracks on Mary Mountain, roughly near the center of the lower loop of the park's Grand Loop Road. Park spokesman Al Nash reminds us that waking bears are hungry bears.
Nash says that comparatively speaking, it's a tad later in the season for the bears to be making an appearance from their winter naps.
Yellowstone does have seasonal Bear Management Area closures in place to reduce encounters with bears that have a high density of elk and bison carcasses. Nash says it is important for winter outdoor recreationists to be “bear aware” during this time of year.
And as always, no matter what time of year in the park, visitors are also reminded to keep food, garbage, barbecue grills and other attractants stored in hard-sided vehicles or bear-proof food storage boxes.
Nash says that bear sightings should be reported to the nearest visitor center or ranger station as soon as possible.
Finally, prior to hiking, skiing, or snowshoeing in the park, visitors are encouraged to check the park website: