July 4, 2020

Yellowstone National Park Tent Camping and Bears

Camping at Yellowstone National Park this year will look a little bit different then usual. After last year’s bear mauling at the Soda Butte campground which killed Kevin Kammer, 48, of Grand Rapids Michigan as well as a bear attack on two others, grizzly bear experts have suggested that banning tent camping would be the best possible way to help prevent any further attacks. The Gallatin National Forest managers have decided to take this advice and they have placed a ban on soft-sided, pop-up and tent camping as well as camping with out a shelter at Soda Butte, Colter and Chief Joseph campgrounds near Yellowstone National Park. In order to stay at these three campgrounds one will have to have a hard-sided vehicle, a box camper with hard sides, or a raised upper section since these are able to safely keep bears away. Managers are still looking into other options as well as trying to decide what to do at other campgrounds around the area.

Yellowstone National Park Tent Camping and Bears

The actual bear that attacked Kevin Kammer and the other two camps as well as her cubs were caught a few days after the incident via a trap. The mama bear was actually euthanized due to her predatory behavior. Where as her cubs were first sent out to ZooMontana in Billings which is a 70 acre wildlife park. Recently the cubs were moved to Buffalo, NY where they await the construction of their permanent home at Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City.

When camping or hiking in nature habitats anything can happen and it is important to always be aware of one’s surroundings and to take all the possible necessary precautions. So even though the threat of that particular grizzly is gone around Yellowstone National Park, many other grizzlies are still out there that could pose a similar threat. It is important to try to keep humans and bears as separated as possible and this is why the managers at these campsites are only allowing hard-sided shelters. Other experts and rangers state that it is also a good idea to keep bear spray, which is a pressurized can of hot pepper oil, handy when camping.

Further Resources:

Washington Post Article

USA Today on bear attacks.


Hogle Zoo

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