In Glacier National Park, the mighty grizzly bear travels through the landscape, alone or with cubs, foraging for food, searching for mates, and seeking new territories. These threatened bears, along with pumas, mountain goats, and others, need protected wildlife corridors to successfully pass under the busy roads of this popular national park. GNP is dedicated to the conservation of the grizzly bears that call this park their home, and aims to find solutions through scientific research and action.
The expansion of human development in rural lands means more cars and more car traffic. Transportation corridors are an especially difficult wildlife problem. Bears are drawn to roads because of carcasses of elk or deer killed by cars. Grizzly bears, including mothers and cubs, are dying due to car strikes – contributing to a rising number of fatalities. Glacier National Park has created under passes to allow for wildlife to safely get around the roads, but like all conservation efforts, one solution leads to new problems that must be addressed.
Wildlife viewing is a huge visitor draw, and the wildlife underpass at Walton Goat Lick is one of the most popular areas to observe Glacier’s beautiful wildlife. Visitor congestion along the highway and on the bridge presents an unsafe environment for all. In addition to safety concerns, human presence is encroaching upon the highway wildlife crossing and the flocking tourists negatively affect the bears, causing them to avoid their needed pathway.
The Passage Project will provide infrastructure that will protect this vital wildlife corridor, allowing people to be inspired at a safe distance, and grizzlies to peacefully amble on. This needed wildlife fencing will be part of a larger project that includes increased and more visible highway signage, installation of barriers to prevent vehicles from stopping at either end of the bridge along the highway, educational signage, and an extension of the existing overlook trail to allow for a better view under the bridge while not interfering with the wildlife corridor. The entire project will offer a safer future for both grizzlies and grizzly-loving wildlife enthusiasts.