A little girl who lost a special teddy bear since being adopted from an Ethiopian orphanage thought it was gone forever when she forgot it last year along a trail in Glacier National Park.
Her parents and family friends still hold on to a ray of hope.
Thanks to a social media petition, the sharp eyes and soft heart of a park ranger and grizzly bear activity to close a hiking trail the day a family friend visited the park, the teddy bear was back at 6 In the arms of Jackson, Wyoming-year-old Naomi Pascal.
Naomi’s father Ben Pascal and senior pastor at the Presbyterian Church of Jackson Hole, a popular ski town south of Grand Teton, said the bear’s return, which has earned 12,000 likes on the Glacier National Park Facebook page, is a beautiful story that resonated. Is. National Park in Wyoming.
“It was just a story of hope and kindness and people working together,” Pascal said. “It touched people’s hearts. It gave them hope. It made them feel like there is good in the world, which I believe is out there.”
Teddy was the first gift Ben and Eddie Pascal sent to Naomi before their adoption in 2016. She took Teddy with her on family trips to Ethiopia, Rwanda, Croatia and Greece.
When Pascal took his kids to Montana in October 2020, Teddy was once again in for an adventure. When Pascal and a friend went for a walk in Glacier National Park, family friend Terry Hayden saw the kids. They were almost back at Hayden’s house in Bigfork that night when they realized they didn’t have Teddy.
It snowed overnight, closing the high elevation of the park for the season and preventing Hayden from returning in search of Teddy. He gave a report to park officials, hoping that a bear might be lost and found.
Ranger Tom Mazarasi, a bear specialist at Glacier, noticed not long ago when he and two others were doing some work at the end of the season, when they spotted stuffed bears, soaking wet and in the melting snow near the Hidden Lake Trail. Saw sitting
“Typically, items that don’t deserve more monetarily are thrown out,” Mazarsi said. He was unaware that the stuffed animal was reported lost, but for some reason he could not bring himself to throw it in the dustbin.
Teddy was “hibernated” in Mazarasi’s cabin in St. Mary’s and when Mazarasi returned to work in April he “immediately put him on the dash of my patrol truck.”
“It was a perfect little mascot” and piece of conversation, Mazarsi said.
Teddy had a busy spring and summer, with wolves yelling at each other and working “bear jams,” which are traffic jams caused by bears near the road, Mazarasi said.
In June, Eddie Pascal posted a petition to Facebook asking for help finding Teddy, saying: “He’s been with her for so many milestones. But there are so many more adventures to come!”
People greeted and offered to replace the bears. A Michigan woman posted a photo of Teddy the day she was lost, saying it was the only bear she had seen in the park.
Meanwhile, Hayden feels sorry for the loss of Naomi’s special bear. So when she and some family members went to the glacier in late September, she told them about it and stopped to investigate possible lost-and-find sites.
“I am a woman of faith,” said Hayden. “And that morning I said, ‘Okay God, if this bear is around, please put that bear in my path and let me come home with that bear today.'”
That’s exactly what happened when Hayden and his adult niece, a photographer with cancer, saw a stuffed bear in a ranger’s truck after returning from a trail closed due to bear activity.
He took a picture and sent it to Eddie Pascal, who immediately confirmed it was Teddy.
Unfortunately, the Ranger’s truck was locked. Mazarsi was on holiday and another ranger working on the trail had the key. They left a note on the vehicle and found the other rangers.
“I run up to these Rangers and I’m hyperventilating,” Hayden said. “And I’m going, ‘There’s a truck down at the trailhead and there’s a bear sitting on the dashboard.
They knew about the bear, confirmed where it had been found and soon returned Teddy to Hayden with a Junior Park Ranger badge and a ranger hat.
Hayden sent the bear to Naomi, who said she was really excited to have Teddy back.
Hayden bought another stuffed bear for Mazarsi. He named it Clover, he said, because it reminded him of a brown bear he saw in Yellowstone National Park that would lie on his stomach in a clover patch and eat it.
The clover is in winter in Mazarsi’s cabin in St. Mary’s. Next spring, she will board her truck.