A grizzly bear attacked and killed a biker just outside of Glacier National Park. Authorities have shut down the area while they search for the bear.
Tragedy Wednesday, as a grizzly bear attacked and killed a mountain biker just outside of Glacier National Park in Montana. 38-year old Brad Treat and a friend were mountain biking along a trail in the Halfmoon Lakes area of the Flathead National Forest, adjacent to Glacier National Forest, when they encountered the bear.
The grizzly knocked Treat from his bike and attacked him. Treat's companion reportedly road to seek immediate help. The two apparently surprised the grizzly, according to Flathead County Sheriff Chuck Curry.
Treat's body was found at the scene, about a mile or so from West Glacier campground, but the bear was not in the vicinity. Authorities are searching for the bear, and the area is currently closed while the investigation continues. Bear traps have been set in the vicinity in hope of catching the animal, and a helicopter has flown over the area to try and spot the grizzly.
"Treat was mountain biking on a trail with another male at the time of the attack," Sheriff Curry said. "It appears they likely surprised the bear and Treat was taken off his bike by the bear. He was pronounced dead on the scene. The second rider was able to exit the area to summon help and was not injured or involved in the attack."
Treat was a law-enforcement officer with the U.S. Forest Service, according to the Sheriff. "Brad was an integral member of our area law enforcement team and a friend to us all," said Curry.
Treat grew up in Kalispell, about 30 miles from West Glacier, where he was a standout distance runner in high school according to his former coach, Paul Jorgenson.
"He's one of the nicest kids I've coached," said Jorgensen. "One thing that really impressed me about him, we were running at the Missoula Invitational (cross country meet) and he was the top runner. He finished first and then he turned around and congratulated every kid that finished. That really impressed me. I told my kids that story off and on over the years and then my kids started doing that, too. Brad's the one who started that. That's the kind of kid he was."
Since Glacier National Park's inception in 1910, there have been 10 fatal bear attacks in and around the park. The last in-park attack occurred in 1998, when a 26-year old man was mauled while hiking in the Upper Two Medicine Valley
Northwest Montana has a bear population of around 1,000 animals, making it home to the largest population of grizzlies in the lower 48 states. 700 more grizzlies live in and around Yellowstone National Park, roughly 360 miles south of Glacier. Glacier officials report that there are typically one or two non-lethal bear/human encounters inside the park each year.
In 2001, an elk hunter was killed by a grizzly on the Blackfoot Clearwater Game Range, south of and connected to Glacier National Park. Since 2010, there have been six fatal grizzly attacks in the Yellowstone region of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho.
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