There have been multiple incidents of at least one bear damaging vehicles and obtaining food from trash cans in the Exit Glacier area at Kenai Fjords National Park. On Sunday, June 9th and Sunday, June 16th at least one bear obtained food items from garbage cans both in the campground and near the Nature Center. The exterior of two vehicles were also damaged during those two days by a bear.
Park visitors are advised to take extra precautions if parking overnight in the Exit Glacier area. Food and other scented items such as toiletries should be stored in the park’s food storage lockers. There are food lockers available in the campground, in the picnic area near the Nature Center, and by the pavilion near the Nature Center.
The park is asking visitors to help reduce the chances of a bear obtaining food by making sure garbage can lids are closed securely after disposing of trash. Please promptly report to park staff any incident where a bear obtains food, damages property, or acts aggressively (e.g. huffing, paw swatting, approaching, following, charging etc.).
The National Park Service was created to “…conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.” Bears occur throughout Kenai Fjords National Park and represent a significant wildlife component of the ecosystem. Bears are a focal attraction for park visitors and the opportunity to see a bear in its natural habitat often contributes significantly to enjoyment of the park. This interaction, however, can increase the potential for conflict between humans and bears and alter normal bear behavior.
If vehicles in the Exit Glacier area continue to be damaged by bears despite our attempts to change the pattern of human activities (i.e. people continue to store food and other scentables in their vehicles), Kenai Fjords National Park may increase their bear response management actions to deter problem bears.
Thank you for helping keep fellow park visitors and our bears safe!