In light of two grizzly bear maulings in Yellowstone National Park during the summer of 2011, a Montana non-profit organization wants to make bear spray cans widely available for rent to hikers and backpackers, according to an article online at Bozemandailychronicle.com.
While the program is still in early stages of development, the Keystone Conservation Group, a people and predator coexistence group based in Bozeman, MT, is hoping to have cans available for rent in communities surrounding Yellowstone by May 2012.
This past summer two hikers were killed (one in July and one in August) in the first deaths from grizzly attacks in the park in 25 years. Neither hiker was carrying bear spray and both attacks were eventually linked to one female grizzly who was later euthanized.
Several companies and outfitters around the Yellowstone and Teton area already offer rentals of bear spray that vary in price per day; the Keystone Group is looking to partner with some of these companies/outfitters to expand the range of rentals. New canisters of bear spray generally cost $20 (online) to $50.
Keystone Conservation already has several programs to encourage people and predator safety and education. Right now, the BEAResponsible Program works to educate landowners and outfitters about grizzlies.