If you went to Outdoor Retailer last week, or the Colorado Convention Center pretty much any time of year, you might be familiar with the Big Blue Bear peeking into the lobby as if it’s just one big picnic that’s piqued his curiosity. If you want to turn the tables, however, and get a glimpse of bears doing their day-to-day thing, you don’t need to go to Denver. All you need to do is switch on the Katmai National Park bear cam, which went live this month.
The 2019 Katmai Bear Cam Brings Bears, Salmon and Zen
Katmai National Park is home to an estimated 2,200 brown bears, and is one of the prime bear-watching destinations in North America. Scientists, outdoor enthusiasts, and Paddington fans alike flock to Katmai to better understand ursus arctos and their role in shifting ecosystems. And even more are tuning in online to watch the Brooks Falls Brown Bears clown around waterfalls and riverbanks in search of salmon.
Now is the perfect time to tune in, since July is one of the biggest months for bear viewing. As spring turns to summer, mating season ends and the salmon runs begin—bringing out hordes of bears annually. Waterways like Brooks River become all-you-can-eat buffets for Katmai’s brown bears, crammed with chum salmon swimming back to their spawning grounds. But the bear cam should provide a lot of entertainment all summer long, as the Coho salmon start their seasonal runs and the bears continue to feast well into the fall.
Bear viewing is so popular in Katmai National Park that rangers carefully regulate how many people can congregate on each viewing platform, and for how long. If you’re camping in Katmai, you’ll also be expected to attend a bear etiquette class on check in. And, although Katmai is one of the lesser-visited national parks in the system, the chance to see so many bears up close can lead to crowds.
You won’t have that problem with the Katmai bear cam. Nor will you have to worry about hungry bears mistaking you for the biggest salmon they’ve ever seen when you’re safely behind your computer screen. Though with such a winning glimpse at life during the Alaskan summer, we have a feeling Katmai will be popping up on quite a few bucket lists after just a few minutes of bear cam— along with all the rest of the stunning national parks in Alaska.