The reality of grizzly bear recovery

CLARK, Wyo. (WyomingNewsNow) - It’s the reality of recovery.

The grizzly bear is one of 13 threatened species in Idaho (Source: National Park Service photo)

For those who live and work in grizzly bear country, adjustments have had to be made now that the bears’ habitat is expanding beyond their traditional ecosystem. Some businesses, like the Gallagher family’s corn maze near Clark, have had to take pre-emptive action to prevent negative human/wildlife interactions.

Bridget Gallagher and her husband, Cecil, started the corn maze five years ago. Last October, they had a few uninvited guests. A sow and her cubs were found in the maze, so they closed the maze down and notified the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. They closed down for about a week, erected an electric fence, and have had no incidents since.

Dan Thompson is the large carnivore section manager for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. He says they've seen the grizzly bear population increase in distribution more than 50% since the early 2000s, particularly on the Absaroka front. And with the recovery of the grizzly bear population in the greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, people living in the area are having to make changes.

Thompson points out that the Gallaghers took action this year to prevent potential problems at the Corn Maze, erecting an electric fence before they even opened for business, to help keep the bears out.

Thompson adds, however, that the recovered grizzly population will bring more challenges in the future, and residents will continue to have to make allowances to share the land.