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Contact: Mark Sturm, (907) 246-2120
King Salmon, AK – Katmai National Park and Preserve, – Katmai National Park and Preserve, under the discretionary authority of the Superintendent, is initiating a temporary closure on the Brooks River between the downstream reach of the active Brooks River falls closure and a further downstream point indicated by a closure sign on the bank of the Brooks River. Initially this closure will last 72 hours but may need to be extended in duration or expanse depending on the evolution of related concerns.
This closure is necessary to provide the Alaskan brown bear population of the area unimpeded access to essential food resources during a critical time of year. The atypical high water in the river this year has made fishing more difficult for the bears and the areas where they appear to be most successful this year are within the area affected by this closure. Bears are more successful without pressure from competing human activity. All too often, the same good fishing spots for the bears are also favored by anglers and photographers. The resulting concentrated activity in these areas has led to continual close contact between bears and humans to the point where bears are being actively dissuaded from accessing prime fishing locations by aggressive groups of visitors. These interactions have also led to elevated stress responses from bears. Access to this concentrated food source is critical to their survival. This temporary closure will ensure the safety of visitors, park staff, and wildlife.
During this closure, park staff will gather data and monitor bear fishing activity in order to assess the effects of the closure. Fishing access remains open in the rest of the Brooks River above the Falls and below the closure sign, as well as in other areas of the park.
When visitors are accessing the river in bear country, extra care and responsibility is required to protect people, wildlife, and the experience. At minimum, visitors should keep 50 yards between themselves and all bears. When fishing in the river, visitors should stop and move away well before a bear approaches within 50 yards. Continuing to engage in any fishing activity within 50 yards of a bear is prohibited. When water conditions make these guidelines difficult or impossible to follow, visitors should plan their activities accordingly to avoid additional impact on bears’ access to the river. Additional information about fishing in the Brooks River is found at https://www.nps.gov/katm/planyourvisit/fishing-brooks-river.htm
Last updated: July 13, 2021