6-Year-Old's Lost Teddy Bear Becomes Park Ranger's 'Mascot' Before Going Back Home

A lost teddy bear had a wild adventure with park rangers in Glacier National Park before returning home to the little girl who thought she'd lost it forever, the Associated Press reported.

The 6-year-old girl, Naomi Pascal, had her teddy bear since being adopted from an Ethiopian orphanage. She took Teddy with her on every family trip but left it on a hiking trail in Glacier.

Terri Hayden, a family friend on the trip, was unable to return and look for Teddy before the trail was closed for the season due to snow. She made a report to park officials, hoping the bear would be returned to lost-and-found.

It wasn't too long before Ranger Tom Mazzarisi, a bear specialist in Glacier, spotted Teddy sitting in melting snow near the end of Hidden Lake Trail.

"Typically, items that aren't worth much monetarily get thrown out," Mazzarisi said. He was unaware the stuffed animal had been reported lost, but for some reason couldn't bring himself to dump it in the trash.

When Mazzarisi return to work in April he "immediately put him on the dash of my patrol truck... it was a perfect little mascot."

Hayden returned to Glacier with some family members in late September and spotted a stuffed bear in a ranger's truck.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

 Glacier National Park, Teddy bear
In this photo provided by Ben Pascal, five-year-old Naomi Pascal, holding her teddy bear, is pictured on a hike to Hidden Lake in Glacier National Park, Mont., in October 2020. Naomi lost the bear while on the hike, but it was found by a park ranger who took care of the bear until it was spotted on the dash of his ranger truck and returned to Naomi this fall. Ben Pascal/AP Photo

"I'm a woman of faith," Hayden said. "And that morning I said, 'OK Lord, 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 her adult niece, a photographer with cancer, spotted a stuffed bear in a ranger's truck after being turned back from a trail that was closed due to bear activity.

She took a picture and sent it to Addie Pascal, who quickly confirmed it was Teddy.

Unfortunately, the ranger's truck was locked. It was Mazzarisi's day off and another ranger who was working on the trail had the keys. They left a note on the vehicle and found 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.'"

Hayden bought another stuffed bear for Mazzarisi. He named her Clover, he said, because she reminds him of a grizzly bear he saw in Yellowstone National Park that would lay on her belly in a clover patch and eat.

Clover is wintering at Mazzarisi's cabin in St. Mary. Next spring, she'll ride in his truck.

Teddy Bear, Glacier National Park
In this photo provided by Terri Hayden of Bigfork, Mont., Hayden talks online with Naomi Pascal on Oct. 2, 2021, as a friend shows Naomi the teddy bear the little girl lost in Glacier National Park, Montana, a year earlier. Terri Hayden/AP Photo