By Skye Mayring
January 24, 2012
Wilderness travel in Alaska is gaining momentum, and clients have a good chance of sighting Alaska’s famous brown bears in their natural habitat with the help of AdventureSmith Explorations.
“Bears are cute, but those spotted during a small ship expedition cruise are in the backcountry where it’s as wild as it gets,” said Todd Smith, founder and director of AdventureSmith Explorations. “Our method of accessing remote islands and coastlines where larger ships can’t sail, plus the guidance of trained naturalists, offer opportunities for guests to encounter wildlife at a close but secure distance, without impacting the animals’ natural habitat.”
The expedition ship Pacific Catalyst II has been awarded permits to guide travelers to the Pack Creek Zoological Area on Admiralty Island to view the highest concentration of brown bears in the world (about one per square mile). For 60 years, brown bears and humans have lived in close proximity, so the bears have had generations to become accustomed to the presence of people. This activity is now included as part of a seven-night cruise itinerary.
Another highly popular trip and Alaska cruise extension is Katmai near the Brooks Lodge. There, brown bears gather upstream from a series of lakes in Katmai National Park and where Brooks Falls impedes the progress of spawning salmon, making an easy meal for bears. A land-based lodge program operates in this region from May through September, but the best month is July when the Sockeye Salmon run is at its peak. Early bookings are advised.
AdventureSmith’s Within the Wild adventure is a float-plane-accessed tour featuring a day of Brown Bear viewing in Redoubt Bay. The bay a unique setting where bears are viewed from small boats that navigate river mouths where salmon congregate before swimming upstream to spawn.