Join us in welcoming the bears out of hibernation at the 14th Annual International Multicultural Bear Honoring, May 3-5, 2013, in Missoula, Montana, the Mission Mountains, and Glacier National Park.
Nearly every culture that shares habitat with bears around the world has held ceremonies to celebrate the bear’s emergence from the den each spring. In observance of that tradition, the Great Bear Foundation holds a weekend long Bear Honoring festival the first weekend of May each year. This year, in recognition of the first documented case of a grizzly bear visiting the Missoula area in decades, our theme is welcoming the grizzly back to its historic habitat. While grizzlies still face tremendous threats in terms of habitat loss and conflict with humans, decades of conservation efforts are successfully allowing Ursus arctos to return to some of its historic range, including Missoula’s fringe, and the prairies east of the Rocky Mountain Front.
Schedule of Events:
Friday, May 3rd, 5:00 PM: Bear Foods Buffet at Greenough Park Picnic Shelter, Missoula, MT. Eat like a bear–glacier lilies, spring beauty, fiddleheads, nettles, and game meat will be part of the menu. Dr. Charles Jonkel will lead a bear walk on Rattlesnake Creek, looking for bear foods, den sites, and bear sign. You might be surprised at the high quality bear habitat found within Missoula city limits! Remember that next time you’re jogging up the Rattlesnake….
Saturday, May 4th: Visit Salish Kootenai College’s Art Department, the Powwow at Kicking Horse Job Corps, where we’ll sponsor a Bear Dance, and finish up the day looking for bears and bear sign in the Mission Mountains. Learn about Millie’s Woods, and why the Mission Valley is such productive grizzly habitat. Meet at our office at 802 East Front St., Missoula at 9:00 AM, or contact us to meet up elsewhere along the way.
Sunday, May 5th: Day Trip to Glacier National Park. Take a walk with us up Going to the Sun Road for storytelling, wildlife watching, and bear ecology. Meet at the GBF Office at 802 East Front St., Missoula at 9:00 AM to ride with us ($20), or meet at Avalanche Gate in Glacier at 12:45 PM. If the road is not plowed, we’ll meet in the parking lot of Lake MacDonald Lodge. Don’t forget plastic bags to help pick up litter along the way!
Please RSVP for Saturday and Sunday’s events so we can plan accordingly.