Grand Teton National Park rangers made the call Wednesday to reopen Signal Mountain Road and nearby trails, which had been closed because of a string of conflicts with berry-foraging bears about a week ago.
“The road, the trail, it’s open,” park spokeswoman Denise Germann said.
There were three observed and reported conflicts Aug. 13.
A park visitor called in an eyewitness account of a fellow visitor feeding an unknown item to a bear, and twice that same day overcrowded bears bluff-charged people.
A grizzly sow with two cubs — likely the famous animal known as 610 — was involved in the first altercation, which took place while the park’s volunteer Wildlife Brigade was trying to keep the scene in order.
“The volunteers were outside their vehicle, and the grizzly bear was on the other side of the road,” Germann said. “The bear started huffing a bit, and charged the wildlife volunteers.”
The brigadiers darted to the other side of their vehicle to avert the testy grizzly, Germann said. There wasn’t even time for the volunteers to unholster their bear spray before the bruin called off its pursuit.
The other bluff charge, reported the same day, involved a black bear. A video of that incident captured by park visitor Jeff Lang has been embedded.
Signal Mountain Road’s “bear jams” are almost impossible to police, Germann said, because of the steep, tight, curvy nature of the road.
It’s a similar situation to Moose-Wilson Road, which closes routinely when grizzlies are active in the corridor.
No progress has been made on finding the person who supposedly fed a Signal Mountain bear, partly because there was almost no information to go on.
“There’s no reason to doubt the individuals that gave us the information,” Germann said, “but we were unable to follow up on it.”
Last fall, a Signal Mountain sow black bear was trapped and killed, and her cubs sent to an outdoor zoo, after the animals became dangerously habituated due to being fed.