Grizzly Bear Safari - the great bear stakeout! Part Two
A blog about the best places to see Grizzly Bears on your Grizzly Bear Safari - Part 2 Alaska
After multiple trips to Canada and enjoying some of the best Grizzly Bear viewing in North America we wondered if it was possible to take our Grizzly Bear safaris to another level - then we disovered Alaska! Nowhere in the Northern Hemisphere can you come face to face with more and bigger brown bears, often at close range, than in Alaska’s legendary Katmai National Park. Two decades of carefully managed bear viewing here has produced a unique environment in which bears are incredibly tolerant of human observers, provided they conduct themselves in a predictable and non-intrusive manner, and can be safely viewed on foot for prolonged periods, often in close proximity. Anybody who watched the Great Bear Stakeout last night would have been amazed at how close the film crew got to the bears and how incredibly toelrant the bears were of their human observers; this is exactly the experience you would have if you visit Katmai National Park on your Grizzly Bear tour.
The beauty of Alaska is that there are multiple destinations to view Grizzly Bears and one of the most iconic is the famous Brooks Falls where many Grizzly Bears can be observed catching salmon at a beautiful waterfall. There are three viewing platforms at Brooks Falls; one overlooking a footbridge close to where the river empties into Brooks Lake, and two overlooking the falls. In September (unlike July) most of the action is at the footbridge which acts like a seine net in that it is clogged with spawned out salmon which of course attracts bears in large numbers. The abiding memory of our visit to Brooks Falls was looking out over the wide expanse of water either side of the foot bridge and counting no less than 24 bears in our field of vision, many of them sows with 2 or 3 cubs. Well that and the 5 sleeping bears we found blocking my path when we tried to hike to the upper falls platform!
Another fantastic location for viewing Grizzly Bears is Kodiak Island, home to the largest Grizzly Bears on the planet. Although it is sad to report that bears are still hunted on Kodiak; unlike Kamtai where they have enjoyed full protection for more than 20 years. There are options to take fly-in bear tours to fantastic locations on Kodiak Island such as Lake Clark, where our clients have enjoyed superb sightings of both male Grizzlies and females with cubs. Here at Wildlife Trails we are always trying to make that connection, both to our clients but also to the local authorities, that these animals are worth far much more alive to the local communities than dead to some trophy hunter, and this is a much more sustainable way of generating money from visitors to Alaska.