WATCH: Giant Alaska Brown Bear Lands Perfect Bellyflop Off of Waterfall

by Lauren Boisvert

The US Department of the Interior shared a neat video on Instagram of an Alaskan brown bear nailing a bellyflop off of a waterfall, right into the Brooks River in Katmai National Park.

“BearCam is back for the season,” the department wrote on Instagram. “Watch Alaska brown bears fish (and jump) for salmon live at Katmai National Park. Every year, they congregate to feast on sockeye salmon in the Brooks River.”

In the video, the bear perches on a rock ledge in the water. It bides its time, looking for the right place to jump. Then, it lands a perfect bellyflop right into the river. The bears in Katmai are famous for stuff like this, and bear fans flock to for the live footage of their feeding habits and antics.

The Katmai bears are also famous for Fat Bear Week, one of our favorite weeks here at Outsider. The contest is a March Madness-style bracket that ranks the fattest bears in the park before hibernation. We’ve covered it extensively in the past; in 2021, the winner was Otis, who’s won four times previously. He’s also one of the oldest brown bears on the planet. We’ll surely be covering the event sometime in September, when Fat Bear Week usually begins.

Katmai National Park Plans to Lift Restrictions for Visitors

Since the pandemic, visiting National Parks has been difficult. With so many restrictions, it’s been hard to plan a trip, and visitation has definitely declined since 2020. But, this year, Alaska’s Katmai National Park is getting rid of its visitation restrictions for the first time since last year.

In March, Katmai announced that they’d be lifting their restrictions. In 2020, their visitation was down 40% from their usual numbers. But, said park superintendent Mark Sturm, 2021 saw those numbers on the rise again. “And even though we had some reduced operational capacities and certain aspects of our campground and other areas of the park,” he said, “we set a record and actually had more visitation than we’ve ever had before. And we expect to see another high level of visitation this year.”

Now, in 2022, the park is opening up again. “At this stage of the game, we feel confident that we can open up one hundred percent,” said Sturm. Although, it’s still a good idea to follow COVID-19 guidelines, and the park recognizes that. “Make sure that you understand what the requirements of the park are currently,” Sturm continued. “There is still a pandemic going on.”

Essentially, read up on the new guidelines, and use your best judgment when visiting and camping at a National Park. It’s important to know before you go, so make sure you do your research.