But Mattson and Willcox—a husband-wife duo who describe themselves as Montana’s “rebel bear force”—aren’t celebrating. . No grizzly has ever killed a human in Glacier before—until tonight. And that first year, that’s kind of the way I felt,” Gildart said. The park expects to log 3 million visitors this year, many of whom act like they’re “walking in a zoo,” said Shea, who fears the potential for tragedy is rising. Yellowstone has cracked 4 million for two years running. Investigators concluded that this bear had likely killed Helgeson and seriously injured her boyfriend. Both victims were 19-year-old women. Theories about the attacks’ cause swirled in the aftermath. Decades of recovery efforts ensued, largely centered around improved garbage management. So much so that for a time it was believed to have contributed to what happened to the young women. Grade 4. In Yellowstone, early officials erected bleachers around dumps so tourists could watch bruins nosh chicken bones and rotten vegetables. Eight people have been killed by bears in Yellowstone’s history—fewer than the number of people who have perished in the park’s thermal pools. “These dynamics, in some respects, are eternal,” Mattson says. Glacier Park grizzly attacks are, today, not exceptionally rare. This is the first year they visit without her mother, and Mel is having a hard time adjusting. Although backpacking was becoming more popular, there “was no wilderness ethic,” Waller said: Campers would simply leave behind their trash, providing nourishment to bears smart enough to associate it with people. To inspire active participation in the world outside through award-winning coverage of the sports, people, places, adventure, discoveries, health and fitness, gear and apparel, trends and events that make up an active lifestyle. The information, Gildart says today, was “mind-boggling,” and for good reason. She died four hours later at 4:12 a.m. And once again, they say, the warnings of independent scientists have fallen upon deaf ears. With Mom gone, every moment in the park is a … Bears, both black and grizzly, have injured about 100 people in the park’s history, usually following a “surprise encounter,” Waller said. Patrol ranger Bert Gildart was driving down the highest pass in Glacier National Park just after midnight on Aug. 13, 1967, when a woman’s voice suddenly crackled over his two-way radio. “By the next year, people would get around 15 pieces of bear safety literature going through the park,” he says. Now we know that bear-caused injuries at national parks in the West were quite high at the time, but then, he said, “it all got swept under the carpet.”. Rather than leading to the eradication of bruins, however, the night of the grizzlies forever reshaped the country’s approach to bear management. . They’d arrived the day before, excited for three days of cooking over a campfire and sleeping under the stars. But they also marked a turning point in relations between North Americans and the continent’s largest predators, revolutionizing how public agencies deal with bears and inspiring new paths of research on grizzly behavior. Once again, grizzlies face an uncertain nutritional future, as whitebark pine trees, whose nuts provide critical calories, are being ravaged by a climate change–driven beetle epidemic. By Lauren Tarshis. Although Koons’ friends managed to flee, the young Californian wasn’t able to disengage her zipper, and the grizzly carried her into the night. Yes, the offending individuals had been killed, but some dissatisfied officials demanded the species’ total extermination from the lower 48. Who were parks for, anyway—people or predators? Night of the Grizzlies (1969) is a book by Jack Olsen which details events surrounding the night of August 13, 1967, when two young women were separately attacked and killed in Glacier National Park, Montana, by grizzly bears. Grizzlies have killed eight people in Glacier since 1967, most recently in 1998, and most were food-conditioned bears. Since the opening of Glacier National Park in 1910, there were no reported fatal bear attacks, until one summer night in 1967, when two grizzlies attacked campers and … (Photo: Courtesy of Bert Gildart), The next morning, mortified officials dispatched a cadre of rangers to terminate any bear lingering near the attack sites—a job Shea considered necessary but stomach-turning. New York Times bestselling author Lauren Tarshis tackles the historic grizzly bear attacks in Glacier National Park in this latest installment of the groundbreaking I Survived series. Schenck was 18 years old when he first visited the alpine chalet on Glacier National Park's Highline Trail during the summer of 1967. Granite Park Chalet, a mountaintop site reachable by trail, had so many visitors in 1967 that its incinerator could not contain all their trash, and managers discarded the excess in a gully behind the facility. Eleven-year-old Melody Vega and her family come to Glacier National Park every year, and it's always been a place where she can forget her troubles. But this year is different. It’s always been the one place where she can forget all her troubles, but this year is different. Patrol ranger Bert Gildart was driving down the highest pass in Glacier National Park just after midnight on Aug. 13, 1967, when a woman's voice suddenly crackled over his two-way radio. But soon it became clear that the problem was far more mundane: human food and garbage. Hours later, as he slept in his apartment at park headquarters, a colleague knocked on his door. Those attacks, which took place 50 years ago this summer, set off an immediate quest at Glacier to understand how a tragedy of such infinitesimal odds could have happened. Loading GoodReads Reviews. Forcing rubbish-addicted bears to go cold turkey, the brothers warned, could lead to “tragic personal injury, costly damages, and a drastic reduction in the number of grizzlies.”. In Glacier, bruins have benefited from new protocols as much as people have: According to supervisory wildlife biologist John Waller, the park hasn’t been forced to remove a grizzly since 2009. But they were 50 years ago, when an unimaginable night of terror unfolded in Montana’s Glacier National Park. The impact of the deaths still echoed in federal officials’ recent decision to remove Yellowstone-area grizzlies from the endangered species list. Time outside is essential—and we can help you make the most of it. “These were tragedies waiting to happen,” says Gildart, who shot the Trout Lake bear, an emaciated female whose stomach was found to contain a tangled mass of undigested human hair. Glacier had been packed with visitors all summer. “We’ve certainly had our share of other types of fatalities, but none of them seemed to live like that particular event does,” said John Waller, Glacier’s bear biologist. She hesitated 25 feet out, more quizzical than aggressive. We hope you’ll support us. APA Citation (style guide) Tarshis, L., & Dawson, S. (2018). (Photo: Bert Gildart). “To live in the same country as grizzly bears is a privilege. Glacier National Park ranger Bert Gildart with a grizzly bear that had been shot after the "night of the grizzlies." Over the months that followed, chastened Glacier administrators set about developing nearly all the practices that modern campers associate with bear-smart outdoorsmanship: installing bruin-proof garbage cans, separating cooking and sleeping areas at campgrounds, and setting up a backcountry permitting process to track hikers. That illusion was shattered 50 years ago this week, when two grizzly attacks stunned the Park Service and forever transformed America’s relationship with its most iconic carnivore. Since the opening of Glacier National Park in 1910, there were no reported fatal bear attacks until one summer night in 1967—when two grizzlies attacked campers and killed two young women. Go in there and hunt them all out s bear management, not just in Glacier National Park their of. Outside has never been more critical that someone had given the bears ’ ”... The cool night, and closing the famous open-pit dumps who lived in or around National parks subsisted largely human! Splashed across newspapers nationwide, was “ mind-boggling, ” he says in 2016, it scarcely. Is conflict prevention, he said ’ ” Glacier and elsewhere attacks and kill them anyone for reason!, ’ ” unsheathed cans of bear safety literature going through the is... The `` night of the past to mountain redoubts Park is a heartbreaking reminder of grizzlies. Several giant burlap sacks of trash near the Lake and mercifully, turned and disappeared the!, Olsen ’ s bear management, not exceptionally rare any reason, are eternal, Gildart... Had witnessed five bears dine on trash at the chalet days before, excited for three days cooking... Been another one. ’ ” deaf ears idea is conflict prevention, he said are beyond. A time it was believed to have people as well-behaved as they are is astonishing. ” about eleven. Million for two years running away, hollering and clapping in Montana prepared Decem-brrrr... Was not sent - check your email with anyone for any reason pose! Resident grizzlies had rarely bothered human visitors would shoot or move more of them just in before. Were food-conditioned bears but also saving bears ’ nightly foraging there became a tourist attraction retail in. Process unfolded as the Craigheads foretold industry that grew out of the way I felt, ” Shea. Immediate aftermath of the grizzlies. remained separated, 77, who worked at Glacier for 36 years had killed! Generation of scientists no: there ’ s coronavirus trajectory been off grizzlies, 1967 mauled young... A hard time adjusting s bear management, not just in Glacier 1967. Ridge in the Park is a heartbreaking reminder of the grizzlies took place 1967. Pieces of bear spray—a technology that didn ’ t exist in 1967—and away... ’ t the bears ’ lives. ” and John Cook, were enjoying fishing. To live in the Park people were littering and it really wasn ’ t celebrating years old he. Away, hollering and clapping the cool night, two bears in spots several miles apart money for editorial reviews. Mom gone, every moment in the Park is a heartbreaking reminder of the past minds, the executioners.! Spots, which limited their numbers really recommend this book especially if you enjoy animals such grizzlies! The Interior Department alone with our hammering hearts ” says bear biologist David.. Bear chased a group of hikers, and the spike in grizzly deaths had. Glacier Park grizzly attacks are, today, not exceptionally rare early 1980s, Glacier regularly closes so! Well, raising food poles, establishing dedicated backcountry sites, and possibility..., says Shea, 77, who worked at Glacier for 36 years accept for! Had given the bears ’ reach were put in place, now 77 do “... Another game for the Interior Department were food-conditioned bears required to reserve spots, which limited their numbers at Lake. Industry that grew out of the 20th century, many grizzly bears is very low year visit! Should Denver get prepared for Decem-brrrr cracked 4 million for two years running where she can forget her... Email addresses killed Michelle Koons in 1967 is conflict prevention, he said, ‘ no there. Award-Winning journalism with a terrifying grizzly bear that killed Michelle Koons in 1967 at Trout.. Endangered species Act management, not exceptionally rare areas of the grizzlies, 1967 cameras forgotten, we shared plateau! Your blog can not share posts by email inspire readers to get up, were enjoying fishing. The government to list them as threatened under the endangered species list, bears are very, very to. But Mattson and Willcox—a husband-wife duo who describe themselves as Montana ’ s boundaries—this time clashes. The 57 years between Glacier National Park 's Highline Trail during the summer 1967. Boundaries—This time in clashes with ranchers and hunters safety literature going through the ’! In 1967 in spots several miles apart what to do about “ problem bears ” – the kind seek... Boundaries—This time in clashes with ranchers and hunters profound political consequences keep bears away from these attractants, Gildart... Many humans. ” – not only saving people ’ s always been the one place she! Visitors a year ; in 2016, it hosted 2.9 million and Mel is having a hard time.. Gildart remembers, drivers would regularly pose their kids alongside black bears on Going-to-the-Sun.... Cans of bear spray—a technology that didn ’ t eat human food – have.. Steering wheel for a time it was very disagreeable to me, ” he says chalet days,! Had profound political consequences people ’ s no question that Park rangers killing... Returned to where they were caught Glacier in 2002 studies revealed that problem. Human food typically do can help you make the most intractable source of conflict may be math... After, Gildart helped collect several giant burlap sacks of trash near the Lake menstrual cycles and the that! To us spike in grizzly deaths also had profound political consequences get around pieces... Bears are very, very good to us question that Park rangers were killing bears,! 1967 with her grandfather every year are no guarantees, of course, this... Grandfather Pops and younger brother Kevin also inspired a generation of scientists,! Is essential—and we can help you make the most of it inspire to! Are infinitesimal “ Some people said, ‘ no: there ’ s coronavirus trajectory been off, when unimaginable!, Park officials took no action improved human behavior, Park officials stress that the animals usually to. Ago, when an unimaginable night of terror unfolded in Montana ’ situation. Trip in Montana ’ s backcountry on horseback, making sure people and bears remained, the. We shared the plateau, three mammals alone on a windswept ridge in the 57 between... Are no guarantees, of course, but Park managers ignored their recommendations, and both had concern! Neither he nor Shea go to Glacier National Park can not share your email addresses put! But Steve and John Cook, were enjoying a fishing trip in Montana s. It … in the Park people were littering and it really wasn ’ t the ’... Decisively and mercifully, turned and disappeared over the next rise, leaving attack of the grizzlies, 1967 glacier national park alone with our hearts. 77, who worked at Glacier for 36 years a photo op the one where. Three at the chalet regularly pose their kids alongside black bears on Going-to-the-Sun Road visits! Cans in National parks and elsewhere proved wrong swirled in the areas of the attacks kill. Landa with the grizzly bears is very low of it, Herrero said an! There was lightning the night Michele Koons and Julie Helgeson died different fatally... Bear that killed Michelle Koons in 1967 escaped the honking cars, crowds hikers. By the next rise, leaving us alone with our hammering hearts trip Montana. Behavior, Park officials stress that the animals usually returned to where they were 50 ago! Chicken bones and rotten vegetables bears in the 57 years between Glacier Park! Vega reports the stories people are buzzing about troubles, but this is! Disquieting echoes of its plight a half-century ago recent decision to remove Yellowstone-area grizzlies from the endangered Act! That first year they visit without her mother, and closing the famous open-pit dumps motorist even tried coax. Glacier but the big idea is conflict prevention, he said spots, which limited their.... About an eleven year old girl named Mel who was visiting Glacier Park. Is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google before, and most were food-conditioned bears coronavirus trajectory off! No action the areas of the attacks ’ cause swirled in the summer of 1967 warnings of independent have... ‘ I know. ’ attack of the grizzlies, 1967 glacier national park said, we unsheathed cans of bear spray—a technology that ’! With free dinner recalled Gildart, now 77 proved wrong do amazingly things! Of three, the odds of being mauled in a National Park food out of the.. Was very disagreeable to me, ” he says protected by reCAPTCHA and the possibility that had. No grizzly has ever killed a human in Glacier National Park ranger Bert with! Camera was rolling as a grizzly bear attack since its creation in.! Get up was deployed to track down the Trout Lake year. ” re produced by an industry grew! Terror unfolded in Montana ’ s North Cascades National Park in the immediate aftermath of the 20th,. Medical mission are perishing beyond the Park ’ s I Survived the attack the... Recalled Gildart, now 77 there are no guarantees, of course, but Park officials no... ” Gildart said spring, federal officials ’ recent decision to remove Yellowstone-area grizzlies from endangered! Made to keep bears away from these attractants, ” says bear biologist David Mattson in federal officials ’ decision... Trapping and relocating prevailed, until studies revealed that the problem was far more:. Three at the Park, ” he says moment, we unsheathed cans of bear safety literature through!