CHICAGO — As the weather warms up and hiking season approaches, the National Park Service (NPS) is reminding visitors to be cautious of bears in parks.
The NPS took to Twitter to share some advice, stating, “If you come across a bear, never push a slower friend down… even if you feel the friendship has run its course.” This seemingly silly advice is crucial as bears generally emerge from their dens after hibernation during the spring.
The NPS followed up its tweet with a link to an online resource where visitors can learn how to stay safe in the event of a bear encounter. The agency advises visitors to travel or hike in groups, pick up their children after spotting a bear, and make themselves appear larger. The NPS also urges visitors to avoid running, which can trigger a predatory reaction from the bear. While attacks are rare, the NPS notes that they do happen.
In the event of a grizzly attack, the NPS advises playing dead. In the event of a black bear attack, visitors should try to get away and/or fight back by hitting the bear with anything they can in the muzzle/nose area. The NPS also urges visitors to avoid any bears with cubs and not come between the cubs and their mothers. Taking a can of bear spray along on hikes can also help.
For those planning a trip to a national park, it’s crucial to check the official NPS website for helpful tips and suggestions. Remember, safety should always come first when enjoying the great outdoors.