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Brown Bears On Popular Local Trails

July 24, 2010

Brown bear sow, 3 cubs prompt Rover’s Run warning

BEARS: Signs have been posted in Bicentennial Park urging hikers and bicyclists to avoid trail.


Published: July 22nd, 2010 04:24 PM
Last Modified: July 22nd, 2010 04:25 PM

City officials are again urging the public to avoid the Rover’s Run trail in Far North Bicentennial Park because of a brown bear sow with three 2-year-old cubs that have been seen travelling it several times in the past week.

A brown bear sow with three, two year old cubs has been repeatedly seen on Rover’s Run trail, there is a high probability of encountering a brown bear on this trail.  The Municipality of Anchorage’s Parks & Recreation Dept. maintains a website ( dedicated to updating citizens about bear sightings and is recommending that all trail users seek alternate routes and to avoid using Rover’s Run trail.

A surveillance photo of the trail shot last Wednesday — and posted on a municipal website, — shows the four bears walking single-file down the winding trail. City officials say there is “a high probability of encountering a brown bear on this trail” and are urging people to “avoid using Rover’s Run under any circumstances.”

Brightly colored warning signs have been posted at Gasline and Rover’s Run, Rover’s Run and Moose Meadows and Rover’s Run and Viewpoint Trail.

The majority of trail users are bicyclists who are more likely to encounter a bear because they move quickly and quietly, city officials said.

The city has closed Rover’s Run the past two summers after two bear maulings in the summer of 2008 and continuing concerns over bear encounters there. Those encounters involved a bicyclist and a jogger.

Other government agencies that manage land in Alaska, including state and federal parks, regularly have closed trails or sections of parks because of bear danger.

Read more: Taken from the Anchorage Daily News.

Misty, Mosely, and I took heed to the warnings several weeks ago and stopped using this and other nearby trails, especially after a bicycle commuter was charged and knocked from his bike early one morning by this same sow.  He had the presence of mind to “play dead” and was batted around by the mother before she walked off.  He apparently poked his head up a bit too early, recalling the attention of the sow, as she came back for a few more swaps and a small bite or two.  After she left the second time, he stayed down this time…as you can imagine…for quite some time.  Afterwards, he got up, picked up his bike, and continued on to the Native Hospital,  which is his place of work and where he had the bite wounds cleaned and patched before moving on with his day.  He is a fortunate man and a brave one.  I’m not sure at all I would have the mental fortitude to play dead, so hope I’ll never be tested.  Meanwhile and as crazy as it sounds especially after relaying this particular story, hiking other local trails is part of my regular routine up here in the Last Frontier albeit with bear spray at the ready and fingers crossed that my fight or flight mechanism will never be engaged.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Lucinda Denton permalink
    July 24, 2010 2:46 pm

    So sad that in Tennessee, if there is a bear attack, the bear is found and killed. After the most recent event, when a tourist was getting up close and personal with a camera, a citizen organization has begun to make sure tourists (and locals too) understand that bears in our area are not tame animals. Thank goodness Alaska cares about the bears and takes measures to be sure the BEARS are not molested.

    • July 24, 2010 4:32 pm

      You said it sister. I’m all about the bears too. Unfortunately, we have the same difficulties up here that you have in the lower 48 with people getting too close causing them to become defensive/aggressive. As a result and depending on the circumstances surrounding the attack, some bears are shot and killed, a situation which could often be avoided. There is a big controversy about the number of moose and bears in “town”. Some folks think there should be a big hunt to remove the “threat” and the rest of us think, well, we live in Alaska and living with wildlife is part of it, so let’s do whatever we can to all get along. As a side note: I am so pleased to see that this sow still has all three of her cubs after 2 years AND that they all look healthy. Given the statistics, this is quite an accomplishment.
      Thank you Lucinda as always for your interest and comments.

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