Granite Park: Trail, campground, chalet closures continue amid grizzly concerns

Visitors to Glacier National Park were not be able to access the Granite Park Chalet or campground on Monday. Tuesday’s trail and chalet access will be decided following overnight monitoring by a bear biologist. (Sherry Devlin/Missoula Current)

Glacier National Park rangers and a wildlife biologist spent Monday patrolling trails and the developed area around Granite Park Chalet and the nearby backcountry campground for an aggressive grizzly bear or bears that forced hikers off trails a day earlier.

They had no bear sightings, but did see “significant evidence” that bears were foraging in a number of areas, preparing for winter. Those signs included scat, disturbed hillsides and overturned rocks, and were dispersed over a wide area, park officials reported Monday night.

However, there was no evidence of a carcass or other food source that the bears were protecting.

At day’s end, the decision was made for a wildlife biologist from the park to remain overnight at Granite Park Chalet to continue observing the area and its grizzly bears.

On Sunday, the park received three separate reports in quick succession of grizzly bears “huffing, drooling, shaking heads, and walking visitors back off of trails,” park officials said Monday. “It is uncertain whether it was one bear or more.”

The aggressive behavior prompted the closure of three popular Glacier Park trails: the Loop, Highline and Swiftcurrent (from Swiftcurrent Pass to Granite Park Chalet).

The Granite Park backcountry campground was closed, and new visitors were not able to access Granite Park Chalet. Those visitors already at the chalet were allowed to leave via the Swiftcurrent or Loop trails.

Late Monday, park officials said they will reassess the trail closure early Tuesday.┬áVisitors should monitor the park’strail status webpagefor the most current information about the closures.

The Granite Park backcountry campground will likely remain closed at least through Wednesday night.

Guests planning to hike to Granite Park Chalet with reservations for Tuesday night should call the Granite Park Chalet Office at 888-345-2649 for more information and updates.