The opportunity to see wild bears, mountain goats and bighorn sheep is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many visitors to the park; however, when these animals are visible from heavily traveled roads in the Lake McDonald, Many Glacier and St. Mary Valleys, a “wildlife jam” is often created, stalling traffic in both directions while people stop to get a closer look.
Wildlife-related traffic jams can be problematic in that they habituate wildlife to the presence of humans and perpetuate wildlife feeling comfortable close to large groups of humans, cars and roadways. However, not all “jams” are bad, and there are thousands of wonderful wildlife-viewing opportunities that can be a special and educational experience for visitors.
This project would employ a small team of Visitor Service Assistants, interns from local colleges, and volunteers to patrol, staff and mitigate congested areas and wildlife- related jams throughout the park. Directly managing these congested areas provides the safest experience possible for visitors and wildlife, as the mobile “wildlife brigade” would be able to alleviate and/or resolve these incidents before they have a negative impact on wildlife or visitors.