News Release

Minor Injuries in Bear Incident

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Date: July 2, 2021
Contact: Troy Hamon

King Salmon, AK – Katmai National Park and Preserve, – A bear-inflicted human injury occurred in Katmai National Park near the confluence of the Savonoski and Grosvenor Rivers at approximately 1:00 PM on Wednesday, June 30. One visitor sustained injuries to his forearm before bear spray could be deployed to deter the bear. National Park Service Rangers provided emergency medical care to the visitor.

The visitor was part of a small guided group that included one guide and two visitors who stopped on an island to sightsee and eat in a remote part of the park.  The guide and one of the visitors walked about 50 yards down river while the second visitor stayed at the boat to take pictures. As that was happening, a bear swam across the river to the island where the boat was beached. The picture taker noticed the bear once it was next to the boat and notified the others in the group. The bear was acting aggressively so all three people attempted to haze the bear away by making themselves appear larger and yelling. The bear’s attention was diverted away from the photographer, but the visitor with the guide was swatted and knocked backwards into the river. The guide was able to use bear spray at that point and the bear departed. 

It is important to have heightened awareness when around bears, especially in backcountry areas where bears are not as used to people. A non-habituated bear is less comfortable with human intrusion in their space. All visitors to Katmai are encourage to review the bear safety information about bear encounters on our website, Bear Encounters in Katmai - Katmai National Park & Preserve (U.S. National Park Service) (

This is the first bear/human contact since 2018 when there were two minor bear incidents in which bears made contact with humans but where no injuries were sustained.  

Last updated: July 2, 2021

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