Grizzly in Yellowstone

A grizzly bear is shown in this photograph taken near Tower Junction in Yellowstone National Park on April 19.

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A woman sustained minor injuries after she was knocked down by a grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park on Monday.

The 37-year-old woman from Columbia, Missouri, was hiking alone on the Fairy Falls Trail near Old Faithful when she ran into two grizzly bears “at a very close range,” according to a Wednesday news release from the park.

One of the bears, a female, knocked the woman down, causing minor injuries on the woman’s face and thigh. The woman, who attempted to use her bear spray during the altercation, did not accept medical attention after the incident, the release says.

“From the injured person’s statements, this appears to be a typical case of a mother grizzly bear protecting her offspring following a close-range encounter,” said Kerry Gunther, Yellowstone’s bear management biologist. “Because this bear was displaying natural protective behavior for its cub, no action will be taken against the bear. Several trails in the area will be closed to give the grizzly family group time to clear from the area.”

The incident is still under investigation.

Park officials have temporarily closed the Fairy Falls Trail, the Fountain Freight Road, Imperial Geyser and Sentinel Meadows trail. They also closed parts of the Fairy Creek trail and individual campsites in the area.

It’s the first such encounter in 2020, according to the release. The most recent incident involving a bear came in June 2019, when a black bear bit into a tent and bruised a woman’s thigh.

Park officials recommend park visitors hike in groups of three or more, carry bear spray and know how to use it, make noise while hiking, avoid hiking at dawn, dusk or at night, and stay out of areas closed for bear management.

“Wildlife in Yellowstone National Park are wild. When an animal is near a trail, boardwalk, parking lot, or in a developed area, give it space,” the release says.

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Helena Dore can be reached at hdore@dailychronicle.com or at 582-2628.

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