If people can learn to live with bears, there's a good possibility that we can learn to live with other people. In short, to live with ourselves.

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The Bears of Katmai National Park

Katmai National Park is known for it's large population of Brown Bears. Well known bear viewing areas in the park include McNeil River Sanctuary and Brooks Falls. Katmai's remote coastline offers great bear and wildlife viewing opportunities. These areas require transport via boat or bushplane and a guide who is familiar with the area and Brown Bear habits.

Interaction with bears in this remote area is much different than encountering a bear in the lower 48 states. In the lower 48 states human-bear interaction typically occurs as a result of human food. Garbage dumps, home refuse, and vendor dumpsters attract hungry bears which in turn start the bears on their way to death via the three strike rule. Katmai National Park's abundant food supply keeps most bears from aggressively pursuing human food. However, any dropped food item such as a candy bar, sandwich, or potato chips can surely change a bear's food habits from a natural process to one that pursues human food at all costs. You will find most Wilderness Guides in Bear Viewing Operations to be very meticulous about checking the area a group has been gathered around before leaving to prevent bears from picking up bad habits.

Typical coastal bear viewing activities evolve around the food seasons. In the early summer sedge grass is flourishing and very nutritious. The bears will supplement the sedge grass with clams where available. At low tide ome can often observe a bear's clamming technique. However, these bears are just buying time while patiently (or not.) waiting for the first seasonal run of salmon. The anticipation of a bear waiting by a stream sniffing the air for that first salmon of the season provides an insight to how much these bears rely on this food. As the summer season draws to a close the bears shift to berries and salmon as a primary food source attempting to put on precious pounds for their winter hibernation. The Brown Bears of Katmai are incredible animals to observe in a wild remote area.

It is in awe that I have been able to observe nursing cubs, fox playing with bears, males play-fighting, and sows fiercely protecting their cubs. Katmai has shown me that the Brown Bear is a powerful symbol of wilderness and freedom. There are not many places in the United States that we humans have not forced the Brown Bear to extinction. We need to preserve the great Brown Bear and it's habitat for future generations. I hope you enjoy my shared learnings and experiences through these articles and pictures.