Brad Treat, a 38-year-old law enforcement officer with the U.S. Forest Service from West Glacier, Montana, was attacked and killed by the grizzly bear while riding his mountain bike with a companion on a trail in the Halfmoon Lakes area of the Flathead National Forest.
“It appears they likely surprised the bear and Treat was taken off his bike by the bear,” Flathead County Sheriff Chuck Curry said in a statement on the incident. “He was pronounced dead on the scene. The second rider was able to exit the area to summon help and was not injured or involved in the attack.”
Treat was a well respected member of the local community, renowned for his kindness and humility. He was known for maintaining his athleticism and was one of Montana’s best distance runners during his high school years, achieving all-state honors at Flathead High School, according to the Flathead Beacon.
“Brad was an integral member of our area law enforcement team and a friend to us all,” Curry told the Associated Press.
“He's one of the nicest kids I've coached,” Paul Jorgensen, who coached Treat in high school, told the Flathead Beacon. “He was a really good runner but he was also a kind-hearted person who cared about people.”
Treat’s death was the seventh fatal grizzly bear attack since 2010 in the Yellowstone region of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. The grizzly bear population in Northwest Montana, where he was attacked, is the highest in the lower 48 states with approximately 1,000 bears calling that area home, according to the Beacon.
Despite that high population, grizzly bear attacks are rare in the Glacier region, according to officials. Since Glacier National Park was created in 1910, there have been 11 fatal attacks, including Treat’s.
The incident is being investigated by the Wildlife Human Attack Response Team of the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, the U.S Forest Service and the Flathead County Sheriff's Office. The Forest Service has closed the area of the attack for public safety until the investigation is finished.
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