National Park Service bear inspired summer weight gain routine
National Park Service bear inspired summer weight gain routine

If you’re a bit on the scrawny side and looking to add some mass this summer, the National Park Service has some simple advice, copy the daily activities of coastal brown bears living in Alaska’s Katmai National Park & Preserve. Here’s the routine: Gorge on raw Sockeye Salmon for one hour, sleep on a beach for two to three hours and repeat. Sounds pretty good right? Katmai’s bears enjoy a daily seafood buffet at Brooks Falls where visitors can watch them pig out all summer on the high-calorie food source which is crucial for the bears to build up fat reserves for winter hibernation. When salmon are in abundance, bears often prefer to eat only the fattiest parts of the fish like the skin, brain, and eggs, as these contain the most calories proportionally (while they may seem like gluttons, they can actually be kind of picky). If you’d like to see Katmai’s bear population feasting for yourself, consider a trip to Brooks Camp where visitors can safely observer the bears from wildlife viewing platforms stationed along the river.

“Yeah, I’m into fitness. Fitness whole salmon in my mouth.”⁣⁣

Katmai National Park & Preserve Bear Viewing:

A bear’s waking hours are often dominated by their search for food. Outside of their denning season, bears predictably congregate in food rich areas throughout Katmai. Some areas of Katmai National Park, like the food rich Pacific coast, support some of the highest densities of bears ever documented. Other areas of the park with little food, such as the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, support only a few bears in any season.

If you know what foods bears prefer to eat and when that food is most abundant, accessible, and nutritious, then you will be able to find many areas in Katmai to observe these fascinating animals.

Bear Watching at Brooks Camp

At Brooks Camp, brown bears congregate to feed on sockeye salmon in the Brooks River. Four wildlife viewing platforms along the river offer safe and spectacular wildlife viewing opportunities while minimizing our potential impact on the bears. For more information about bear watching at Brooks Camp, see Katmai’s park guide, The Novarupta, or download the brochure, Bear Viewing at Brooks Camp.

Other Bear Watching Destinations in Katmai

There are many, many backcountry locations that offer bear watching opportunities in season. In fact, the Pacific Coast of the park harbors some of the highest densities of bears anywhere on the planet. However, thick vegetation and rugged terrain can make seeing those bears difficult.

For many people the most rewarding backcountry bear watching locations are where bears feed on sedges, clams, and salmon. In spring and early summer, bears migrate to open meadows to feed on sedges and dig for clams on the nearby mudflats. Later in the summer and fall, bears are more easily and consistently seen along salmon streams.

The table provided below shows the best typical times for bear viewing at a few specific and popular areas in Katmai National Park and Preserve. For guides and/or transportation to bear viewing areas, see the list of commercial operators authorized to provide bear viewing trips in Katmai National Park and Preserve.

images from KatmaiNPP

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