A grizzly bear was sighted for the first time this spring in Yellowstone National Park, prompting officials to remind visitors of bear safety.

According to the park, early Wednesday morning, a park employee observed a grizzly bear between Mammoth Hot Springs and Tower-Roosevelt. Later in the morning, park staff saw two more grizzly bears scavenging carcasses in the northern part of the park.

The bear sightings were the first confirmed of the year, although bear tracks have been seen since Feb. 22.

Park staff reminds visitors to stay safe in Yellowstone by carrying bear spray, staying alert, hiking or skiing in groups of three or more and staying on maintained trails.

If visitors encounter a bear, don’t run. Stay 100 yards away from both black and grizzly bears, opting instead to use binoculars, telescopes or telephoto lenses to get a closer look.

And store food, garbage, grills and other attractants in hard-sided vehicles or bear-proof food storage boxes.

“Yellowstone visitors care deeply about preserving bears and observing them in the wild,” said Kerry Gunther, Yellowstone’s bear management specialist. “Carrying bear spray is the best way for them to participate in bear conservation because reducing potential conflicts protects both people and bears.”

While firearms are allowed in Yellowstone, discharging firearms is a violation of park regulations.

Anyone who sees or encounters a bear is asked to immediately report the incident to a park ranger.

Whitney Bermes can be reached at wbermes@dailychronicle.com or 582-2648. Follow her on Twitter at @wabermes.

Whitney Bermes is the city editor and covers cops and courts for the Chronicle.

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