Protect the Wildlife that Make the Northern Rockies Worth Visiting

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With world-class recreation opportunities and scenic landscapes at every turn, it’s no surprise that millions of people visit the Northern Rockies every year. For many, the once-in-a-lifetime chance to view wildlife is a big part of the pull. Whether you come every year or this is your first time traveling to grizzly country, you can help make this place safer for all as a visitor. Recreating and vacationing responsibly helps protect the rich wildlife heritage of the region and ensure future travelers can experience the same sense of splendor and awe that comes from a first (or fiftieth) spotting of a grizzly bear, wolf, elk or other native wild species.

Renting Bear Spray

UDAP bear spray canCurrent air travel regulations in the U.S. prohibit having bear spray in either your checked or carry-on luggage. If you’re coming to visit via plane, you’ll need to rent bear spray once you arrive (renting is also a good option to save money however you travel to grizzly country). This map shows where you can rent bear spray in the proximity of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, with rental options likely coming soon to Glacier National Park as well. If you want to purchase bear spray, it’s often available in outdoor stores around the region or online.

National Parks

Glacier, Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks are three of the top destinations for tourists to the Northern Rockies region, and they’re also home to the largest populations of grizzlies south of the Canadian border. Park rangers and staff are always happy to answer your questions, but we encourage you to read the parks’ bear safety guidelines (including directions for roadside viewing and information on seasonal restrictions) before you go.

Bear safety pages for:

Short Term Rentals/Airbnbs/VRBOs

Even if you’re just staying for a few nights, your actions can help keep our communities safe for bears and people—or put everyone at risk. A single food reward experience can keep naturally opportunistic bears returning to the same property long after your stay has ended. Ask your property manager if there are any bear aware regulations you need to follow for securing attractants during your stay and follow these tips from our partners People and Carnivores.

Appreciating Wildlife

Photo of bull moose standing in mountain lake
From grizzly bears and wolves to moose and elk, the Northern Rockies are characterized by their abundant wildlife and scenic character.

It’s a true privilege to experience the abundant wildlife of this landscape. Ongoing threats like habitat loss, development, disease and social intolerance still threaten many species in the West, and without conscious conservation efforts it’s not guaranteed they’ll remain for future generations to enjoy as we do. If you’ve valued your time exploring this landscape, a contribution to Vital Ground’s conservation work can transform your gratitude into tangible benefits for its human and animal inhabitants.

If your trip involves plans to hike, mountain bike, camp or enjoy one of the countless other great outdoor recreation opportunities of the Northern Rockies, be sure check out our bear-aware advice for recreationists.