West Fork Trail at Camp Senia closed due to carcass found nearby - KULR8.com | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

West Fork Trail at Camp Senia closed due to carcass found nearby

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BILLINGS, Mont. -

Now that winter is over, many animals have come out of hibernation - including bears.

Jeff Gildehaus is the outdoor reaction planner for the U.S. Forest Service and said the West Fork trailhead on Rock Creek Road at Camp Senia has been closed out of concern for human health and safety.

"We have a dead moose at the West Fork trailhead and that's a huge bear attractant," Gildehaus said. "We don't want people interacting with bears."
Gildehaus said the U.S. Forest Service has been working closely with Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks who have determined the moose died from old age and natural causes.

Benjamin Barbee lives in Red Lodge, which is near the trailhead. He said it makes sense to close it.

"A carcass lying dead in the woods this time of year is a prime food source for bears that are coming out of hibernation and are looking for food," Barbee said. "So, it's almost guaranteed you're gonna have a lot of bear activity around the carcass."

Gildehaus said instead of getting rid of the moose, they're going to let nature take its course.

"In this case, we have to leave it," Gildehaus explained. "We have the ability to get rid of dead carcasses with explosives, but we can't do that in this case because we're about a mile from some summer homes and we need to be at least two miles away in order to not break windows."

Barbee explained why everyone should pay attention and respect the signage posted by the U.S. Forest Service.

"If you're going to disobey the signs and walk up to an area with an active bear feeding on the carcass, you're sort of asking for it," Barbee said.

Gildehaus said the trailhead will remain closed for up to 14 days. He said Memorial Day Weekend is just around the corner so he wants to remind everyone to honor areas that are posted as closed.
 

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