Bears in Olympic National Park?

How much of a threat are black bears to campers/hikers in Olympic national park? I am planning a trip there and have been a little apprehensive due to the required bear cannisters to reach Glacier Meadows on Mt. Olympus.

5 Answers

  • j C
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    I think this information will really answer your question:

    Black bears are common in Washington and the backcountry of the Olympic National Park. Though bear numbers appear stable, encounters are on the rise -- perhaps because more people are heading into the woods.

    Bear experts say the best way for humans to avoid conflicts is to keep bears out of food and garbage. Once bears learn to associate humans with food, they can become a threat, says Larry Lang, Olympic National Park ranger and coordinator of the park's wilderness information center.

    "Once a bear has possession of your stuff, you don't want to argue with it too much," Land says. If bears become too aggressive with campers, park officials take action that varies from closing an area to camping, to hazing the bear, to killing the bear in serious cases.

    Penalties for improper food storage can include a $50 fine, Lang said.

    Washington has an estimated 25,000 black bears, says Craig Bartlett, state Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman. So far this year, Fish and Wildlife has gotten about 500 complaints on bears.

    Of those, 38 involve human-bear interactions -- from bears in backyards to hikers in the back country.

    But attacks on humans are rare. The last fatality on record was in the 1940s. The most recent black-bear attacks on humans were in Stevens County in 1998, in Skamania County in 1997 and in Columbia County in 1995, Bartlett says.

    There are no records of bear attacks in Olympic National Park, Lang says.

    Once, while hiking the Hoh River Trail, the Simpsons came upon a bear with a deer carcass about 50 yards from the trail. The bear guarded the carcass for about three days. They stayed clear.

    "We try to respect the animals in their area," she says. "We don't bother them."

    Seeing a bear is not a bad thing, says Donny Martorello, Fish and Wildlife bear and cougar specialist.

    Most black bears are curious, not aggressive. If a hiker stumbles onto a bear with cubs, the bear may be uncomfortable and can be dangerous.

    If that happens, make yourself known, talk to the bear, back away slowly, Martorello says. Don't pick a fight, and don't try to run from a bear. You can't outrun it, and running may trigger an attack.

    Climbing a tree is not necessarily the best escape -- black bears are excellent climbers.

    People should hike in groups, keep children close at all times and be aware of bear signs.

    Berry pickers should expect bears in good patches.

    Black bears are powerful and deserve respect, he says. People should take them seriously, but there is no reason to fear them.

    Though no grizzly bears are found on the Olympic Peninsula, they may be in North Cascades National Park and in northeastern Washington, says Doug Zimmer, of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

    People who venture into grizzly habitat should consider carrying pepper spray in addition to other bear precautions.

    "It's a bear deterrent. It's not 100 percent. It's not brains in a can," Zimmer says. "You still have to think about what you're doing."

    And the best defense in grizzly and black bear country alike is to think about what to do if you encounter a bear on the trail -- before it happens, he says.

    "Use your brain, it's your best weapon," Zimmer says. "They're not out there hunting you."

  • cozad
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Olympic National Park Grizzly Bears

  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    No. There are no grizzly bears at Mt. Rainier or the Olympic National Park. They may be some in the North Cascades, but that would be a very rare occasion: About 2 or 3 verified sightings a year. Besides Alaska, the only other state that has grizzly bears is Montana (Idaho and Wyoming have similar frequency of sightings as Washington State). There are black bears all over in Washington State.

  • 1 decade ago

    Black bears are usually pretty timid critters. They are a little more agressive in the spring when they emerge from hibernation. As long as you take proper bear precautions such as cooking far away from your sleeping area and hanging your food you should be OK.

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  • 1 decade ago

    You don't bug them; they don't bug you. Make sure that attractants are put away ... coolers don't have food goo on the side of them ... you know, common sense. You don't want your time in the woods spent like that movie with John Candy and Dan Akyroyd... do ya?

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