bear with me.


National Park Service Notice –

READ: Please don’t run from bears or push your slower friends down in attempts of saving yourself.

As a follow-up to a previous post, if you come upon a stationary bear, move away slowly and sideways; this allows you to keep an eye on the bear and avoid tripping. Moving sideways is also non-threatening to bears. Do NOT run, but if the bear follows, stop and hold your ground. Like dogs, they will chase fleeing animals. Do NOT climb a tree. Both grizzlies and black bears can climb trees. Do NOT push down a slower friend (even if you think the friendship has run its course).

Stay calm and remember that most bears do not want to attack you; they usually just want to be left alone. Don’t we all? Identify yourself by making noise so the bear knows you are a human and not a prey animal. Help the bear recognize you as a human. We recommend using your voice. (Waving and showing off your opposable thumb means nothing to the bear) The bear may come closer or stand on its hind legs to get a better look or smell. A standing bear is usually curious, not threatening.

P.S. We apologize to any “friends” who were brought on a hike as the “bait” or were sacrificed to save the group. You will be missed.

#FindYourPark #RecreateResponsibly

“i’d rather write about polar bears than people”

-mary oliver

image credit: Bear resting on a log thinking bear things at Katmai National Park & Preserve, NPS/ J. Ehrlenbach

84 responses »

  1. A bear can run 35 mph for short distances. As fast as an Olympic sprinter. Luckily, you don’t have to outrun the bear, just one other person. That is why I always recommend taking a slow-moving, delicious looking friend with you on any trip into the woods!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I can’t believe that you didn’t make this up …. you didn’t, right?!
    And I’m really glad to know that I just have to sing a bit of J.S.Bach or Händel and suddenly, I’ll be able to Händle it…. 😉

    PS: Of course, I’m in agreement (again!) with Mary Oliver

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Whenever there is a story of someone who is attacked in the wilderness, I always think that, while it is a tragic event, it is NOT the fault of the Bear…we need to respect their habitat…great advice by the way…I read book about going on safari…it was called “Whatever You Do, Don’t Run!” Why? Because FOOD RUNS!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I grew up in Northwestern Montana Grizzly Bear country. We didn’t go huckleberry picking without a sidearm. Something with stopping power. Now, people carry big cans of pepper spray. Yes, huckleberries are real! 🖤

    Liked by 3 people

  5. We were camping in Glacier National Park and I noticed all the shops were selling “bear bells” to keep the bears away. I asked a ranger if they worked, and she said the best you could expect was that those bells would be the last thing you heard…

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I love that warning and shared it on my FB page. Today in Colorado a bear was killed because some stupid human had been feeding it and the bear bit the man’s hand. The man is fine; the bear was “euthanized.” Sometimes I just really, really, really hate people.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Three cheers for that author! Park Service employees are a different breed. Highly educated, poorly paid, and forced to deal with the public while wearing silly hats. My dear friend, a historian, once showed me a magazine written by and for historians. There was a column devoted to stupid questions from stupid visitors, such as at Mount Rushmore: “Where to they put it in the winter?”

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Hi Beth,
    Not quite what the NPS has on their site, but funnier your way… Thanks for including their link. I followed it to see what is there and they have some beautiful photos of bears! If I have a spirit animal, it’s a bear (or a raccoon or a dog). Well, it’s one of those. Please don’t force me to choose…

    Liked by 4 people

  9. seems very sensible -I saw a film clip of three girls who had come across a bear, they just stood very still, the bear sniffed one of them (she actually took a photo) and when the bear moved on they moved off! No harm done.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. There’s an old joke that draws my wife’s ire. She tells me that I’m ‘stale’ but my daughter and I repeat it time to time for a some nonsense: “if a bear was chasing you, would you run into a church or school for safety?” The listener picks one, either one, and you reply, “what, with a ‘bare behind’?” That’s it. Why, I’m laughing again. Maybe my wife is right 😉😂🤪

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Hi Beth, I have actually been up close in personal with two grizzly bears in the wild. One was a young male who was following me and my young daughters on a hike. Scary!!! I definitely had to use all my tools to get away from that one. The second bear was a momma grizzly and her two cubs. I was hiking and came over the pass to find her. The wind was towards me, so she didn’t see or smell us. I had to yodel to get her attention as there were hikers coming up behind me. She startled when I yelled, and for a second I thought she was going to charge. Then she calmed, and went back to eating. We watched her for a several minutes, then turned around and left.


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