Potential Flood Hazard in Bear Glacier Lake

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Date: July 29, 2015
Contact: Deborah Kurtz, (907)422-0544

In recent years, Kenai Fjords National Park has been documenting annual glacier lake outburst floods affecting Bear Glacier Lagoon. This documentation can be found at https://www.nps.gov/kefj/learn/nature/bear-glacier-outburst-flood.htm. Recent observations indicate that the source lake is full of water, and there exists a potential hazard of sudden release of this water resulting in down-glacier flooding again this summer. The sudden input of this water into the lagoon in front of Bear Glacier results in an outburst flood that can create hazardous recreational conditions that might include rapidly rising water levels, an increase in iceberg calving at the terminus of Bear Glacier, standing waves and strong currents, or the redistribution of sediment and debris in channels like the one that exists at the outlet of Bear Glacier Lagoon. In extreme floods such as occurred in 2014, the flood waters can blow out the beach and temporarily reroute the outflow into Resurrection Bay. For more information on the 2014 event, visit https://go.nps.gov/bearglacierlake.

Visitors are always advised to exercise caution in this very dynamic area.

The park is currently conducting additional research to learn more about the nature and frequency of this hazard. At this time we are asking all visitors, commercial operators, and others to please use caution and stay alert to conditions when in Bear Glacier Lagoon; as well as throughout Kenai Fjords National Park.

For the most up-to-date information on the status of this area, contact the park's visitor center at 907-422-0535. Reports of unusual conditions or events are always appreciated, and can be made to the park's visitor center. 



Last updated: July 30, 2015

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PO Box 1727
Seward, AK 99664


(907) 422-0500

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