Cooke City, MT – As part of ongoing efforts under the Endangered Species Act, members of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team (IGBST) will be conducting population research in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, Gardiner Ranger District of the Custer Gallatin National Forest. Starting Monday, July 13 – Thursday, July 23, the Sheep Mountain Road (Forest Road #3224), located approximately 5 miles north of Cooke City will be closed to all motorized use. The 1.86 mile road provides an out and back ATV road, but has no trails or trailheads associated with it. Recreationists should avoid the area during the time. A good rule of thumb is to always be aware of their surroundings, hike in numbers and carry bear spray. All areas in the vicinity of the bear trapping and researching monitoring will be signed and members of the public need to heed and respect the warning.
For information on the project, contact the IGBST hotline at 406-994-6675. Bear trapping and monitoring activities are conducted for scientific purposes. The area around the site will be posted with bright warning signs to inform the public of the activities occurring. These signs are posted along the major access points to the trapping site. Monitoring of grizzly bear distribution and other activities are vital to ongoing recovery of grizzlies in the Yellowstone ecosystem. In order to attract bears, biologists utilize natural food sources such as fresh road–killed deer and elk. Potential trapping sites are baited with these natural foods and if indications are that grizzly bears are in the area, traps will be used to capture the bears. Once trapped, the bears are handled in accordance with strict protocols developed by the IGBST.
For general information on the Custer Gallatin National Forest or to view the closure orders visit online at: www.fs.usda.gov/custergallatin. Follow Custer Gallatin National Forest on Twitter: CusterNF, GallatinNF or facebook: Custer Gallatin National Forest.