The Brown Bears of Katmai National Park

July 30, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

I had the opportunity to visit Katmai National Park in Alaska this July, to photograph the brown bears during the salmon run.   Each year, when the salmon make their way upstream, the bears gather in this region to feed.   The park covers over 4 million acres, with most of it being designated as wilderness area, where sport hunting is banned.  The park is named after the volcano, Mount Katmai, which is one of the eighteen volcanoes in the park.  I stayed at Brooks Lodge, which was particularly suited for photographing these bears.  The camp area offers three protected viewing platforms from which to observe the bears at length of time, without having to retreat from them when they venture nearby.  The tricky part is hiking from one platform to the other, or from the lodge.  The farthest platform is a 1.5 mile hike through the woods, where once, we encountered a large bear making his way right down the narrow path towards us.  To evade the bear, we stepped off the trail a good twenty feet or so, to let him pass.  Bears have found these man-made trails useful as ways to navigate up and down the river.  My time in Katmai was three nights, the maximum allowed by the lodge during the peak season.  Following that, I would later take a float plane to the edge of Lake Clark, to see more bears, and then would eventually make my way down to the Kenai Peninsula area to venture into the Kenai National Park, as well.  The trip lasted about ten days and offered a respite from the heat in New York City.   With many bear photos now in tow, look for new images in the New York Wildlife series to soon be sporting these bears.  


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