1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
Know the area and what to expect: Browse Alagnak’s website and contact the park if you have additional questions.
Travel in small groups, if possible.Select appropriate equipment: Weather and environmental conditions at Alagnak can vary from hour to hour.
Repackage food before leaving home: A bear resistant food container (BRFC) is required for all overnight backcountry users, and packing food into smaller containers will help in packing it into a BRFC!
2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
- In popular areas, concentrate use; in remote or unimpacted areas, spread use.
- Hike on existing trails.
- Choose an established campsite: Along the Alagnak River, there are no designated camping areas nor are there maintained campsites. Please try to camp on an area already impacted by other users. If those are not available, pick a campsite on durable surfaces -- grassy areas, gravels, rocks, sand. Try to choose a campsite 200 feet away from water. Avoid campsites that have signs of bear presence – tracks, scats, diggings, tree scrapings and alder patches. Areas with concentrated food sources such as schools of fish or large sedge meadows should be avoided.
- Use approved bear resistant food containers and store your food away from your campsite to keep curious bears out of your tenting area.
- Just like in many river corridors where rafting and fishing are popular, human waste is a problem. Toilet paper is unsightly and unhygienic, poop and “catholes” attract bears and other critters, and in many places along the Alagnak, it is unsafe to go bashing through the brush to find a place at least 100 feet away from the water to defecate. If you plan on camping near the river or on river bars in the river, please consider using a “Toilet in a Bag” – commercial products that will contain human waste and can be disposed of in any trash receptacle. There are many of these products and they can be purchased at most backpacking/outdoor stores. At a minimum, pack out all used toilet paper or other hygiene products.
- Avoid digging deep cat holes for human waste. Deep cat holes may disturb sensitive archeological resources. Use toilet paper sparingly and use a sealable bag to pack it and other hygiene products out.
- Wash dishes away from camp and pack out food particles: If you must use soap, use it sparingly.
- Deposit fish guts in deep, running water.
- Dispose of trash properly – pack it out! Burying trash only attracts bears and other animals. Burning it is usually not feasible and may create toxic fumes.
- Pack our your unused food and cook and eat away from your tent.
- Be extra clean in bear country! Do not store food in your tent.
- Minimize site alterations: Fight the urge to make furniture out of logs, driftwood, and other natural features.
- Avoid damaging live trees and plants: Use tent stakes to tie down tents and shelters instead of tying off to trees. Avoid disturbing wildlife: Observe wildlife from a distance and give them the right of way. Avoid camping near denning sites, food caches and in alder or birch thickets.
- Leave natural objects and cultural artifacts where you find them! The Alagnak area has been occupied by people for thousands of years. It’s a guarantee that where you want to camp, others have camped there before. Be aware of cultural artifacts and leave them if you find them. Collecting rocks, antlers and other natural and cultural resources is prohibited.
- Make a fire only if necessary – use camp stoves to cook your food. In many places, finding enough dry wood for a fire is time consuming. Campfires should only be built where there is abundant and appropriate firewood. Care should be used in thick brush as bears may be walking through on a game trail.
- Use only dead and downed wood. Scatter ashes and any unburned wood from your campfire ring when you leave.
- Or better yet, go without a campfire!
- Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them.
- Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers.
- Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely.
- Control pets at all times, or leave them at home.
- Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young, or winter.
- Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.
- Be courteous. Yield to other users on the trail.
- Step to the downhill side of the trail when encountering pack stock.
- Take breaks and camp away from trails and other visitors.
- Let nature's sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises.