Updated July 24, 10:26 pm: A woman who was killed by a grizzly bear near West Yellowstone, Montana on the morning of July 22 has been identified as 48-year-old Amie Adamson of Derby, Kansas, the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office confirms in a Facebook post.
Adamson was working in the Yellowstone area at the time and was on the Buttermilk trail when the grizzly attacked her in what GCSO is calling a non-predatory manner. The avid runner was likely jogging at the time of the attack and was only a few hundred yards from the trailhead, ABC News reports. There was no evidence of the offending grizzlies consuming or attempting to consume the victim.
Adamson was a longtime English teacher and published author who quit her job in 2015 to hike across the country. No stranger to spending time outdoors, she wrote the book Walking Out: One Teacher’s Reflections on Walking Out of the Classroom to Walk America. Officials have set bear traps in the area for the third night in a row since the incident in hopes of catching the grizzlies.
A hiker discovered a woman’s body on the Buttermilk Trail near West Yellowstone on the morning of July 22. Tracks, wounds, and the location of the incident are consistent with a grizzly bear kill, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks reports.
FWP game wardens were notified of the body at around 8 a.m. on Saturday. Wardens, bear specialists, and other investigators found wounds on the body that were typical of a grizzly bear attack. They also found tracks from an adult grizzly bear and at least one cub in the vicinity, but they didn’t see any bears, bedding areas, or animal carcasses nearby.
The woman is believed to have been traveling alone. Investigators didn’t find any bear spray or firearms at the site, indicating that the woman had no way to protect herself from an attack.
The Forest Service immediately closed down the section of Custer Gallatin National Forest where the incident occurred. They also warned nearby residents and visitors of bear activity. Concerns over the proximity of the area to multiple homes, campsites, and high-use areas prompted responders to begin the bear capture process, although no bear has been found yet. Investigators are still searching for the offending bears both on the ground and from the air.
The Buttermilk Trail (or “Buttermilk Creek Trail,” depending on which map you look at) is located within the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. One of six recovery zones for grizzlies in the U.S., the GYE is home to well over 1,000 bears, which is second only to the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem in terms of overall population.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is currently reviewing both distinct population segments and the feasibility of removing them from the Endangered Species List. That process began on February 3 and is expected to take a full year.