The view from Eielson visitor center in Denali National Park. (File photo)

The view from Eielson visitor center in Denali National Park. (File photo)

Bear attacks hiker in Denali

The man was hiking alone in dense fog in the Thoroughfare Pass area of the park.

Backcountry units 11 and 12 in Denali National Park and Preserve are closed to all backcountry travel for one week following the attack of a hiker by a grizzly bear with cubs earlier this week. A 55-year-old man from Indiana was transported to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital on Monday after being attacked by a grizzly bear while hiking in the park, according to a news release from the park.

The man was hiking alone in dense fog in the Thoroughfare Pass area when a grizzly bear with cubs charged at him from bushes about 100 feet away, according to the release. The hiker was able to use bear spray, the release said, but only after being knocked to the ground by the bear. Park rangers received a 911 call at about 8:19 p.m. on Monday from a park transit bus driver who picked up the injured hiker at the Eielson Visitor Center.

The hiker was able to walk 1.5 miles to the center after the attack, which left him with wounds to his calf, left ribs and left shoulder, the release said. Medical personnel vacationing in the park administered first aid while the bus driver requested an ambulance to the bus dispatch office.

Park rangers transported the hiker via ambulance out of the park, where he was then transferred to the Tri-Valley medical team, then to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, where he was said to be in stable condition on Tuesday morning, the release said.

There are no plans to locate the bear involved in the incident, the release said, because it appears to be defensive.

“Female bears with cubs are naturally defensive of their young, especially when surprised,” the release says. “There is no indication that this bear is unusually dangerous.”

More information about bear safety in Denali National Park can be found at nps.gov/dena/planyourvisit/safety.htm.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

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