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At three locations around Yellowstone National Park, kiosks rent out bear spray



Gardiner, Montana – Ryan Harbach was born and raised in Gardiner, attended college in Bozeman, spent many years working for the National Park Service, and has a lifelong passion for Montana’s magnificent outdoors.

Harbach, a native of Montana and an outdoor enthusiast is aware of the need of having bear spray on hand.

“It’s really important that people carry bear spray, and unfortunately a lot of people don’t carry bear spray,” Harbach said. “There was a study done by the Park Service some years ago that only 13% of day hikers carry bear spray, and we would really like to see that number up.”

His long-held dream of developing a bear spray rental system finally came true three years ago when he opened kiosks that rent bear spray for as little as $16 for two days and $28 for two weeks with a $60 refundable deposit. The $60 is not reimbursed if the bear spray is used.

“When I was working for the Park Service, I just noticed that there was a lot of bear spray being thrown away or recycled,” Harbach said. “It’s great for tourists, especially those flying in because you can’t take it on a plane.”

He acknowledged that recycling bear spray was a brilliant idea, but he also wanted to find a way to utilize bear spray in other situations.

The Yellowstone Big Rock Inn in Gardiner, Madison Crossing in West Yellowstone, and Montana Grizzly Encounter in Bozeman all rent out TrailQuipt bear sprays. Additionally, the canisters can be rented online without a $60 payment. Any one of the three sites is where the rentals can be returned. Before being made available for further rental, the canisters are then carefully examined and weighed to ensure that they have not been sprayed.

“Bear encounters, if you will, have happened in some of the park’s busiest areas. A few years ago, at Old Faithful, somebody had to use bear spray on a grizzly bear, so anytime you’re in grizzly country and you’re out of your car it’s good to have it,” Harbach said.


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