Copper Center, Alaska – On August 28 two hikers on the Tanada Lake Trail surprised a brown bear near the confluence of Tanada Lake trail and Sawmill creek in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve.The bear knocked down one hiker, tearing off his rubber boot in the process before bolting out of sight.The encounter occurred so quickly that neither hiker had time to deploy a firearm or bear spray.The hiker's foot was bruised, but he was otherwise uninjured.
Historically high salmon runs in the Copper River watershed may be resulting in an unusually large concentration of bears in the adjacent drainages as they take advantage of the opportunity to fish.Visitors to the area are urged to be extra vigilant in areas around creeks and brush and to exercise caution if entering them.
Unless additional bear encounters occur, the Tanada Lake Trail will remain open, but visitors to the area are asked to report any bear sightings and/or unusual bear behavior to the Slana Ranger Station -- 907-822-7401.
Did You Know?
Access and services here may seem very limited when compared to traditional national parks in the Lower 48. What the area may lack in services, it more than makes up for in friendly people, and uncrowded wilderness.