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LINCOLN — The mount of a huge grizzly bear on display at the Helena National Forest’s Lincoln Ranger District office has become a tourist attraction and is changing how locals view bruins that roam the region.

“Talk about changing the scope of your job,” said Gerald Lyons, who runs the office’s front desk. “I’m just supposed to sell a few maps, give out fishing information and answer the phone. Now I’ve got Greyhound buses stopping here.”

The 830-pound male is the third largest grizzly on record in Montana. He died in October 2007 at age 12 after being struck by a pickup.

Various groups wanted the bear, including the University of Montana to add to its Grizzly mascot collection. But a letter-writing campaign spearheaded by local children prevailed, and the bear went on display in Lincoln in July 2008.

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