35-year-old man seriously injured in “surprise” grizzly bear attack

35-year-old man gravely injured following a "surprise" grizzly bear attack
Credit: National Park Service Website

Park officials have closed the Signal Mountain trail and road to an overlook atop the 7,700-foot mountain.

The tranquil wilderness of Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park was disrupted by an unfortunate incident on the afternoon of Sunday, May 19, 2024, when an investigation conducted by the Teton Interagency Dispatch upon receiving a report confirmed that a 35-year-old male visitor got seriously injured by a bear attack in the area of the Signal Mountain Summit Road.

Soon after, the rescue operation by Grand Teton National Park rangers and Teton County Search and Rescue personnel was completed. The visitor from Massachusetts was transferred to St. John’s Hospital, where he’s been provided with emergency medical care. The National Park Service website also assured other visitors that the patient is in stable condition and is expected to fully recover.

Per the initial reports, it’s thought that the injured visitor had a surprise encounter with two grizzly bears, with one of the bears contacting and injuring him seriously. On the other hand, preliminary information conducted by law enforcement rangers and park biologists as a part of an ongoing investigation of the site has also drawn similar conclusions.

The incident, coming days after a man in Canada suffered “significant injuries” has sparked renewed concern about maintaining safety during wildlife encounters in unpredictable areas. Due to this, the official news release has issued guidelines to prevent human-bear conflicts. The statement emphasizes the visitors to be cautious of their surroundings, by respecting all wildlife closure areas.

The officials have also urged people not to leave food unattended unless properly secured, as well as to keep their camp clean and store everything in a bear-resistant food locker/bear box. Upon encountering a bear, give it space, and always stay at least 100 yards away. The authorities also gave instructions if the visitors chose to watch or photograph the bear up close. 

“Use a spotting scope, binoculars, or telephoto lens. Park in designated areas, and never block travel lanes. Follow the directions of staff in places where bears are sighted,” the statement concludes. 

While exploring the backcountry, make sure you are aware of your surroundings. If you find yourself in areas with limited visibility or when sound is muffled, make noise to alert someone. Always carry bear spray, and be prepared about how to use it. Make sure to hike in groups of three or more people rather than going alone.

Lastly, Do not run”. Simply back away slowly if you encounter a bear.