Grand Teton National Park Warns of Increased Bear Activity Along Moose-Wilson Road

by Amy Myers

Recently, park rangers and wildlife officials at Grand Teton National Park have taken note of increased bear activity along Moose-Wilson Road, a seven-mile-long corridor in the southwest region that connects key parts of the community. As a result, the national park has come up with a temporary solution as well as a few guidelines to help ensure the safety of all species.

On the bright side, the increased bear activity along Grand Teton National Park’s major road isn’t because of any human fault. Rather, the animals’ increased interest in the area is a result of the fruit-bearing trees that grow along the lengths of Moose-Wilson Road. According to the park, the Moose-Wilson Corridor is teeming with hawthorn and chokecherry shrubs, both of which are prime providers of the sustenance bears need before hunkering down for the winter.

“The berries on these shrubs provide an important food source for bears who are beginning to enter ‘hyperphagia,’ a time when bears increase their feeding to gain the fat reserves necessary for hibernation,” the park informed on August 30. “Berry production along the Moose-Wilson Road has been significant this year, which presents an abundant natural food source for bears and other wildlife.”

Grand Teton National Park Adds Signage to Moose-Wilson Road, Urges Drivers to Remain in Vehicles

Because of Moose-Wilson Road’s dense vegetation, narrow roadway and short-sighted distances, it’s hard for drivers and passers to know if they’re sharing the area with another creature. Knowing how vital of a resource the Moose-Wilson Corridor is to these native creatures, Grand Teton National Park officials didn’t want to deprive its bears of the berries here. Instead, they’ve elected for a solution that will support the safety of visitors while also keeping their four-legged residents in mind.

Grand Teton National Park is home to between 500 and 650 black bears and roughly 700 grizzlies.

“To lessen the potential for human-bear conflicts, we ask all visitors to view bears from their vehicle as they drive along the roadway. These viewing zones are clearly identified with signs. Please do your part by remaining in your vehicle and following direction from park staff through these sensitive areas.”

Additionally, Grand Teton National Park listed a few pointers for folks to keep in mind while exploring the grounds and admiring the flourishing wildlife there.

  • Follow park staff’s direction along Moose-Wilson Road to avoid grazing areas.
  • Remain in your vehicle where signs ask and drive slowly past any bears.
  • Adhere to no-parking signs and speed limit signs.
  • Have patience while others are watching bears as they pass by.

Grand Teton National Park promised to continue monitoring the bear activity along Moose-Wilson Road. Should there be an increase in sightings or any alarming activity, there may be closures in the future.