Yellowstone National Park wants to increase the number of people carrying bear spray through a new engaging, celebrity-filled campaign called “A Bear Doesn’t Care.” Whether you are a hiker, backpacker, angler, photographer, wolf watcher or geyser gazer, the campaign encourages you to carry bear spray – no excuses!
“A bear doesn’t care how far you’re hiking, if you’re just fishing, or even if you work here,” says Superintendent Dan Wenk. “No matter who you are or what you are doing, you should always carry bear spray and know how to use it.”
Recent data collected by park scientists revealed that only 28 percent of visitors who enter the park’s backcountry carry bear spray. Studies show that bear spray is more than 90 percent effective in stopping an aggressive bear, in fact, it is the most effective deterrent when used in combination with our regular safety recommendations—be alert, make noise, hike in groups of three or more, and do not run if you encounter a bear.
“Yellowstone visitors care deeply about preserving bears and observing them in the wild,” says Kerry Gunther, the park’s Bear Management Specialist. “Carrying bear spray is the best way for visitors to participate in bear conservation because reducing potential conflicts protects both people and bears.”
Beginning this summer, look for posters in retail outlets, ads in magazines, and images on social media of visitors and local celebrities carrying bear spray while recreating in the park.
Local celebrities who appear in the campaign share the message that bear spray is essential for safety in bear country. Initial poster designs include alpinist Conrad Anker, artist Jennifer Lowe-Anker, and National Geographic photographer Ronan Donovan. Actor Jeff Bridges, writer Todd Wilkinson, fly fisherman Craig Mathews, and others will join the campaign in the coming months.
Bear spray demonstrations are conducted by park employees at Yellowstone visitor centers throughout the summer months. Park staff is available to speak with local groups upon request about the history of bear attacks in the park, contributing human behaviors, how to prevent/respond to bear attacks, and bear spray use. If you are interested in hosting an event, please contact us at the number listed above.