Better than fiction: Viewers of Katmai National Park’s fantastic Bearcam came together to help park rangers identify this tourist after he walked straight up to Brooks Falls grizzly bears to snap a selfie.
Don’t be that guy. We’ve all seen it. That one person who thinks they’re special enough to approach megafauna. It’s a right of passage for Outsiders, it seems, to view the ignorant advance of a tourist who “just wants a good photo!” Surely these wild animals are just as cute and cuddly as they look, right?
Nope. Big ol’ nope. Outsiders know it, all those who love and respect wildlife know it. We know, too, that the rules our amazing National Parks System has in place are to protect us from potentially deadly situations with grizzly bears, black bears, bison, elk, moose, wolves, and more. So why, then,
was this guy not eaten does this keep happening?
As you’ll see, this “I’m special” gent is as brazen as they come. In the clip at hand, we see the tourist waltzing directly into Brooks Falls as grizzly bears feed on salmon. Like, at least a dozen gargantuan grizzlies. Ignorance is bliss, right? Thankfully, it was all caught on camera as Explore.org’s excellent Bearcam rolled live as it always does. And again, as always, Outsiders were watching across the planet. Take a look:
The bear cam viewers sprang into action last Wednesday as they saw as they saw a man violating “National Park Service wildlife viewing regulations, putting themselves and wildlife at risk.” It turned out he was part a group of individuals who had entered Brooks River. The cam viewers alerted the park rangers who have taken action. Lucky no one was hurt in the event.Explore.org
Bearcam Brethren Ban Together to Nab Grizzly Bear Numbskull
The footage comes from August of 2018, so a ways back. If you’re not familiar, Explore.org’s Live Nature Cam program streams gorgeous locales for all to see online – anytime, anywhere. Perhaps their most popular is the Katmai National Park Brooks Falls Bearcam, which we see above (and often on Outsider).
It suffices to say that the tourist in question was, in fact, not familiar with the Bearcam. That, or he really is just that guy tenfold. Either way, all visitors to Brooks Falls are restricted to a dedicated platform set up to provide an excellent view of the grizzly bears from a safe distance.
But not this guy! No, he’s so special that he gets to breach the platform’s barrier, wade directly into the water, and approach a dozen hungry, man-eating giants. (I love grizzlies as much as any other wildlife tech you’ll ever meet, but the truth is the truth.)
The story goes from “really?” to “oh hell yes!” when Bearcam viewers decided enough was enough, and called into Katmai park rangers right as the man was in the frame. Shortly after this footage, NPS rangers came to the scene and removed the man and his cohorts.
Passing park barriers and entering Brooks Falls is against the law. In the time since this video was captured, sleuthing Bearcam viewers banned together to identify the man. The National Park Service has since said they would be pressing charges against him. Ah, justice.
Justice is Served in Katmai National Park
“People need to recognize that these are wild brown [AKA grizzly] bears,” said Katmai National Park Superintendent Mark Sturm at the time.
As Sturm points out: “These visitors are lucky that they escaped the situation without injury. The possible consequences for the bears and themselves could have been disastrous.”
You can say that again. Bear maulings and fatalities are on the rise, and all Outsiders must stay Bear Aware in bear country. It is the way.
In addition, NPS guidelines for Katmai require all visitors to remain at least 50 yards (150 ft, 46 m) away from all bears – grizzlies or blacks – at all times.
And don’t forget, you can view Brooks Falls’ lovely Bearcam whenever you’d like, right here. But if you ever spot yourself a trespassing tourist, it’s your turn, Outsider.