By Daris Howard
Special to The PREVIEW
My university colleagues and I always tried to find summer work, and then returned to share stories of our adventures, but John’s story was unsurpassed one year.
As he had in other years, John found work in Yellowstone National Park doing trail maintenance. He would walk the trails of the park with a chain saw, cutting trees that had fallen across the paths. Also, as in previous years, because he would be working in the back woods, he had to sit through bear safety training even though he could nearly repeat it by heart.
Black bears seldom attack unless they think their cub is threatened. The best defense against them is to run away. It doesn’t do much good to climb a tree because black bears can climb trees and do it much faster than a human.
Grizzlies are much more prone to attack. Grizzly cubs can climb trees, but grown grizzlies can’t, so if a grizzly charges, if possible, find a sturdy tree to climb.
For all bears, make plenty of noise so you don’t surprise them, and usually they will avoid human contact. If a bear does attack and you can’t get away, roll into a ball to protect vital parts of your body and play dead.