Of Bears and Berries
Instructor: Dave Streeter
August 22 at 7 a.m.
Why do grizzlies have that big hump on their back? Why do they choose to climb to the top of 10,000-foot peaks in Glacier National Park? Are black bears or grizzlies better tree climbers? In this course, we will discuss these common questions and many more as we hike through important grizzly habitat and discuss historical events that have helped shape Glacier’s present-day bear policies. On the trail we will look for bear signs, such as scat and feeding opportunities, that provide wonderful opportunities for trail side talks. We will discuss the life cycle of the bear, including mating, reproduction and raising the cubs. Join us, as we have much to learn from the black bears and grizzlies of Glacier.
Meeting Place: Glacier Institute Field Camp.
Itinerary: (subject to change due to trail closures and weather) After a brief intro at Field Camp at 7 a.m., we will take the Glacier Institute van to the Firebrand Pass trailhead, while discussing the life cycle of the bears, including mating, birth, denning and getting fat for winter. We will hike uphill along the trail towards firebrand pass with the hopes of witnessing bear activity and signs. After concluding our hike, we may take other shortstops or hikes to round out our view of bears and their relationship with humans and other high-country inhabitants. At Field Camp we will wind down with the “cultural bear in song & stories”, to cap the understanding and celebration of the bear in its home. The course will end by 4 p.m. and will not be cancelled due to weather.
Food: Please bring a trail lunch, plenty of water and snacks for the day.
Park Entrance Fees: Participants are responsible for purchasing their park entry passes prior to the course. These can be purchased online at: https://www.recreation.gov/sitepass/74280.
Equipment: You will receive a Field Camp gear list once you register. Most importantly are comfortable hiking shoes, at least 1-2 liter water bottle, backpack, rain gear, hat, and sunscreen. Weather can be varied, with very high winds, so please be prepared with appropriate clothing, with warm layers, hats and gloves. Gaiters and trekking poles are also recommended, along with binoculars and field guides.
Physical Requirements: Moderate difficulty. An 8-mile hike, with 800 foot elevation gain & loss, quite possibly on some snow. Depending on group interest and abilities, other short hikes may be taken. Frequent learning breaks will be taken along the trail.
Academic Credit: Please see our ‘2021 Academic Credit’ link on our website to learn about OPI credits for our courses.