Alaska Bear Viewing
Alaska is a wonderful place to view bears in their natural habitats. While it’s possible, and even likely, to view bears while on hikes and self-guided wildlife excursions, another great option is to join a photography expedition. There are many companies which offer bear-viewing excursions in areas like Katmai National Park, Fjords National Park and Lake Clark National Park.
According to most estimates, Alaska is home to over 95% of the United States’ brown bear population. Alaska brown bears are beautiful, large creatures. Adults can weigh as much as 1,500 pounds, which is larger than the grizzly bear. Black bears, by comparison, are between 200-500 pounds.
Denali National Park is one of the best and most popular places for bear viewing. During the summer months, from June through September, it’s common to see brown bears congregating near streams to chow down on Alaska salmon. This affords visitors a great opportunity to take a viewing trip by boat or plane.
Organized outings and trips are great ways to see bears in Alaska. However, if you do go it alone in a place like Katmai National Park, there are a few things you must keep in mind in order to stay safe. First, bears don’t like surprises, so make noise or sing as you go on your hike. Second, don’t ever try to outrun a bear, you don’t stand a chance. Also, remember to give a bear room to breathe – never crowd a bear when trying to get a photograph or they will feel threatened. Finally, always let a bear know that you are human (give it a chance to see you, their eye sight is actually quite good!), and never try to feed a bear or leave food out for it to find.
Keep these tips in mind and you’ll come back home with photos and memories to last a lifetime.
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