Bears and People

Bears Don't Like Surprises
If you are hiking through bear country, make your presence known - especially where the terrain or vegetation makes it hard to see. Make noise, sing, talk loudly. If possible, travel with a group. Groups are noisier and easier for bears to detect. Avoid thick brush. If you can't, try to walk with the wind at your back so your scent will warn bears of your presence. Contrary to popular belief, bears can see almost as well as people, but trust their noses much more than their eyes or ears. Always let bears know you are there.


Be Bear Savvy:
While walking, hiking or camping in Glacier Bay, you may encounter a bear. The vast majority of these encounters do not result in human injury or property damage. You can help prevent injury to yourself or to the bear by taking a few basic precautions.

  • Be alert
  • Make noise, esp. in wind or near rushing water
  • Choose routes that offer good visibility
  • Travel in groups of two or more
  • Keep your personal items and food within your immediate reach
  • Do not pursue or approach bears for photographs
  • Avoid streams with spawning fish

Be a smart camper:
Both campers and bears frequent the beaches of Glacier Bay. Bears only have 6-8 months to acquire the calories and fat reserves needed for the entire year, and the shoreline is essential for food and travel. The following guidelines will minimize your disruption of bears and help keep them wild:

Cooking and storing food:

  • Cook at least 100 yards from your tent and food storage area
  • Cook and eat in the intertidal zone
  • Wash cooking gear in marine waters
  • Be prepared to quickly stow all food should a bear suddenly approach
  • Keep all food, trash and other scented items in a bear resistant food container (BRFC)Store BRFCs and clean cooking gear in brush or behind rocks away from animal trails 100 yards from your camp

Choosing a campsite:

Controlling your gear:

  • Keep gear together. The more spread out your gear is the more difficult it is to defend.
  • To minimize potential bear damage to gear, consider breaking down your campsite daily.
brown bear

Close Encounters
Would YOU know what to do?

Last updated: December 28, 2015

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Mailing Address:

Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve
PO Box 140

Gustavus, AK 99826


(907) 697-2230

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