Last updated: 12:33 PM ET, Sun July 03 2016

Bear Attack at Denali National Park Causes Trail Closures

Impacting Travel | Donald Wood | July 03, 2016

Bear Attack at Denali National Park Causes Trail Closures

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

On Friday, a hiker was bit and scratched by a grizzly bear on the Savage River Alpine Trail at Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska, just hours after the trail was reopened following close encounters with bears previously.

According to Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, the 28-year-old hiker named Fangyuan Zhou was hiking the Savage River Alpine Trail with two friends when they came across an adolescent grizzly bear they had seen earlier.

When the grizzly charged at them, the group played dead, but the bear bit and scratched Zhou before walking away. When it returned again, the group was able to scare the bear away by throwing rocks at it.

Park officials administered care to Zhou, but she decided to seek additional medical attention at a hospital in Anchorage. National Park Service staff announced the bear involved in the incident also had previous run-ins with humans, which caused the closure of the Savage River Alpine Trail on June 24.

Over the last two weeks, park staff attempted to train the bears in the area to avoid further incidents, but Friday’s attack proved the lessons hadn’t worked. Officials from Denali National Park now plan to locate and kill the bear as soon as safely possible.

As a result of the incident, the Denali Park Road and all hiking trails between Mile 13 and Mile 17 have been closed, and the Savage River Campground will be limited to hard-sided RVs. The parking lot and restrooms at Mountain Vista will remain open to travelers.


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