WEST YELLOWSTONE, Mont. — A Montana woman was found dead Saturday after coming into contact with a grizzly bear on a trail west of Yellowstone National Park.
The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks said in a statement Sunday that the woman was found dead on a trail near West Yellowstone, a Montana town located in the Custer Gallatin National Forest just west of Yellowstone National Park.
They said the woman was found dead «after an apparent encounter with a bear» based on what investigators determined were grizzly bear tracks at the scene. The department said the investigation into the grizzly attack was ongoing.
Rangers issued an emergency lockdown of the area where the woman was found, which is popular with hikers.
Although the department’s statement said the death appeared to have followed the woman’s interaction with the bear, it did not confirm the cause of her death.
The attack comes amid a surge in the Montana brown bear population and a surge in sightings.
The department issued a news release last week advising visitors that staff had confirmed sightings of grizzly bears throughout the state, «particularly in areas between the Northern Continental Divide and Great Yellowstone ecosystems.»
They implored those camping and visiting parks to bring bear spray, stock up on their food while outside and tend to their trash.