Brooks Camp Visitor Tips, Recommendations, and Rules
Viewing brown bears in their natural habitat and sport fishing are very popular activities in Katmai. Safety and preparation for varying weather conditions are the most important considerations when visiting a wilderness area like Katmai National Park & Preserve.
Although a bear may be encountered anywhere in Katmai from late May into December, the best times for bear viewing at Brooks Camp is in July and September. There are few, if any, bears around Brooks in June and August, though they are seen occasionally during these times. July and September are crowded with both bears and people.
Katmai is bear habitat, and they always have the right-of-way. Delays in getting to and from the bear viewing platforms are common and can occur at any time, although such delays offer opportunities for viewing other wildlife and the spectacular scenery all around Brooks Camp. The Brooks Falls bear viewing platform has a maximum capacity of 40 persons at a time. During times of high usage, visitors must check in at the lower bear viewing platform before going to the Falls platform. Visitors are also limited in how long they may remain at the Falls during these times. Weather and bears are always a factor at Katmai, so plan extra time to work around delays.
People may not intentionally approach or remain within 50 yards of a single bear, or 100 yards of a sow (female) with cubs, except when on the bear viewing platforms. Inadvertent encounters do happen. Clapping hands, singing, or loudly and repeatedly saying "Hey Bear" prevents most of these encounters. "Bear Bells" and other noise making devices are not as effective. The purpose of clapping and singing is to let bears know you are human and in the area, not to scare them or change their direction of travel.
If a "too close" situation does occur, do not run from a bear or make direct eye contact. Wave your arms and speak firmly to the bear while slowly backing away, letting the bear know you are neither a threat nor possible prey. If the bear continues in your direction, move off into the woods at least 50 yards (100 yards from a sow with cubs) until the bear leaves the area.
Capsicum bear spray (pepper spray) is not allowed on commercial airlines and has not proven very effective in situations likely to occur at Brooks Camp. Bear spray may not be taken within the cabins of air taxis. Let your pilot know if you are carrying bear spray so it can be placed in the floats of the plane. No firearms of any kind are allowed within the National Park, except when carried by authorized National Park Service designated personnel as part of their official duty.
Pets are not allowed in Brooks Camp, or within 5 miles of Brooks Camp due to the high concentration of brown bears and people. Bears and pets do not do well in close proximity. Pets are allowed elsewhere in Katmai National Park & Preserve; however, individual lodges and air taxis may limit or prohibit pets.
A valid Alaska State Fishing License is required for all persons age sixteen and older who fish the waters of Katmai National Park & Preserve. Fishing licenses are available at many locations including the Brooks Lodge Trading Post at Brooks Camp. All persons fishing in Katmai must be aware of catch and release as well as bag limit regulations for the specific site where they are fishing. Any fish kept at Brooks Camp must immediately be placed in a special bag purchased at the Brooks Camp Visitor Center and taken to the Fish Freezing Building near the Lodge. Fish cleaning is not permitted at Brooks Camp.
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