New signs in Yellowstone National Park will help visitors be bear aware. “Be Alert. Make Noise. Carry bear spray. Avoid hiking alone. Do not run,” read the yellow postings that will be hung 50 to 100 yards down assorted trails, instead of right at the trailhead where visitors tend to overlook them.
“People are becoming blasé and not taking it seriously,” Greg Losinski of the Idaho Game and Fish Department told Wyoming’s Trib.com.
Recent park surveys found out just how “blasé” people are. The survey reports that only 16 percent of day hikers carry bear spray, while 70 percent of backpackers do. Only 5 percent of visitors were stopping to read the old warning information posted at trailheads.
The new and simplified signs come in the wake of two bear-related deaths in Yellowstone last year—one because the person was hiking alone, the other because the individual ran when attacked. Neither person had been carrying bear spray.
Staff members from a range of agencies came up with the verbiage on the new, more succinct signs, and their placement was funded by a grant from the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee of roughly $3,000.
To help encourage people to carry bear spray, a non-profit in the Yellowstone area is hoping to offer rental bear spray canisters, at a reduced cost, through a number of local retailers and outfitters