Summer is in full swing here in Alaska, and the bears are out and active. I have seen numerous sets of tracks and heard reports from neighbors spotting bears. I can hardly sleep because in just a few days I will be heading to the coast of katmai to immerse myself in bear country!
Speaking of bears, I would like to report that the petition to stop the snaring of bears, has almost reached its original goal of 1000 signatures, and a new goal of 1200 has been set. Thank you so much everyone for showing your support on this issue, and thanks to the Alaska Wildlife Alliance to sponsoring the petition.. Alaska needs help to steer our government in the right direction in these wildlife management dilemmas.
Another interesting update is that the USFWS has closed a 30 acre region of the Kenai Peninsula’s Russian River, which is one of the most popular fishing areas in the state, due to increased bear activity. There will likely be hundreds of disappointed people, but I am thrilled; let the bears have some of their property rights once in a while! The closure was due to heavy activity by sows with cubs. Click here too see full story and watch a video taken recently of a healthy sow and her two tiny, dark, 6-month old cubs.
The Kenai River is an extremely popular, road accessible river with one of the most awesome salmon runs on the planet. For years people have pushed the bears back, allowing them only the dark hours to fish in peace. Careless actions by people have caused some bears to acquire bad habits, and stressful situations between bear and man occur frequently. I am glad that a step was made to give the bears some space at the expense of human desires. Sometimes we must sacrifice a few things to preserve precious resources like brown bears. There have already been several bears killed this summer by residents and officials because of confrontations with humans. The majority of the problems occur when we allow bears to access food, such as garbage, fish, and birdseed. This appears to be a losing battle in some areas, and I hope dearly that we can reverse the cycle and begin managing our properties to allow for bears to coexist with us. It will be a huge relief to arrive in Katmai where bears and people get along.