Friday, August 26, 2011, 59-year-old John Wallace of Chassell, Mich. was found dead by two hikers along the Mary Mountain trail. After investigation and analysis of the site, it was confirmed that the hiker was attacked by a grizzly and died from traumatic injuries.
The backpacker had been camping and hiking alone in the Yellowstone backcountry. The attack, which has no witnesses, is suspected to have occurred Wednesday or Thursday. Rangers are still investigating the attack and are searching for the bear to better determine why it may have happened.
Wallace’s body was discovered by two hikers Friday; park rangers were then notified. After speculation, an autopsy Sunday confirmed that a grizzly was the cause of death. Full details are still unknown.
This death marks the second by a grizzly mauling this summer as a 57-year-old backpacker was killed July 6th on the Wapiti Lake Trail in the Grand Canyon area of the park. Grizzly attacks are considered rare. The two deaths in the park this summer are the first two in the park since 1986.
Five miles outside of Yellowstone National Park, three people were wounded by a grizzly bear while camping at Soda Butte Campground in 2010.
While attacks and encounters are rare, hikers and those venturing into the backcountry are advised to execute proper bear safety at all times when on and around all areas of the park.