Steep Creek Trail, located between the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center (MGVC) and Moraine Ecology Trail, will be closed on July 10 to avoid conflicts between bears and people.
The trail is closed annually during a similar time to accommodate an influx of bears attracted to salmon spawning in the region.
“Many of the resident bears are accustomed to people on platforms, but not on the back side of Steep Creek where there are no fences or elevated platforms for separation,” visitor center assistant director Laurie Lamm said in a Friday press release from the U.S. Forest Service.
The Moraine Ecology Trail, which lies near the MGVC and will remain open, has raised platforms and rails to allow bears to move in and out of the area without contacting humans. The USFS is asking that visitors use this area to view bears instead.
“By allowing bears a refuge area, they are less stressed and spend more time in open areas. This provides you with a better view, and for wildlife, better access to natural habitat,” Lamm said.
The USFS asks visitors to the Moraine Ecology Trail to follow a few rules to stay safe while viewing bears: maintain a calm demeanor, use slow movements and be courteous and respectful to other visitors. Dogs, bicycles, food and beverages, except water, are not permitted.
Visitors are also asked to notify staff if they see a bear. For more information on the closure, contact Craig at 789-6635.