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Katmai's Brooks Camp Open Through Mid-October

National Park Service

The Brooks Camp Visitor Center in Katmai National Park will be open through October 12th this year.  Rangers will be at the center to answer questions and provide bear safety orientations. 

Usually Brooks Camp closes for the winter in early to mid-September. However, after an incline in camp attendance in late fall, this year the campground and the visitor center will stay open longer. 

When staying at Brooks Camp bear safety orientations are mandatory.  Chief of interpretation at Katmai National Park and Preserve Roy Wood says the orientations are meant to instruct people how to behave when confronted with a bear.

“We’ve had a mandatory bear safety program at Brooks Camp since about 1995 or so that involves watching a five minute film, followed by a about a 10 minute recap of the film and a reiteration of key points in the film. It’s [part of our very successful bear education program there. We’re quite proud of it because despite having one of the densest concentrations of brown bears and two to three hundred people sometimes in the summer, we have not had an incident of any kind in about 20 years and we’ve only had about two minor injuries even beyond that.”

Wood says there are some easy ways to ease yourself out of a situation with a bear.  First of all, Wood says, let the bear know you are there.  Most of the time the bear will have had already smelled you and knows you are there, but sometimes the bear can’t tell what you are.

“First thing is just say something to the bear. Say ‘hello bear, I’m not here to hurt you.’ The important thing is to make sure that if the bear didn’t understand that you were human, that it hears a human voice. It doesn’t really matter what you say. And people say all sorts of things. Just speak to it, let it know you’re human.”

The Brooks Camp Visitor Center is open 8 AM to 5PM September 18-30 and 9AM to 5PM Octer 1-12.  For more information visit Katmai’s website at www.nps.gov/katm or call 907-246-3305