Brown bear watching & wildlife tours on the coast of Katmai National
M/V WATERS / BEARS / THE IDEA
John Rogers, owner of M/V Waters
and Katmai Coastal Bear Tours, has explored Katmai's
coast every summer since 1989.
one of the first commercial operators along the Katmai Coast, the
National Park Service says the boat camp is ideal since it doesn't scar
the beaches. "They're very sensitive to park concerns as well as the
people they're responsible for.", Steve Hurd, chief ranger for Katmai
National Park, says of the Waters. "Quite frankly, that's the
type of operation we need to encourage."
The Katmai Coast is an unlikely destination for a tourist boat.
Stormy and desolate, the coastline was abandoned by its last Native
inhabitants 90 years ago during the immense Katmai eruption, signs of
which are still visible in gray ash on high ridges and small pumice stones
floating in protected bays. When the seas are rough, there are few
protected bays offering refuge.
Skipper Michael Parks, and first mate Lydia Rabottini, along with
owner John Rogers, have been running the Waters for years along the
coast of Katmai. Built for the U.S. Army 60 years ago, the Waters
is a heavyset 70 foot tugboat with thick wooden beams built into its
rising lines. The vessel was purchased by John Rogers during the Exxon oil
spill and pressed into the charter business, carrying park service
employees along the Katmai Coast.
the clean-up winding down, Homer bush pilot Bill DeCreeft, owner of
Kachemak Air Service,
stated he could easily fill the Waters with photographers. He'd
been taking bear watchers to McNeil River for two decades. The Idea of
a "Bear Boat" began. They decided to return the Waters
to Shelikof Strait and the coast of Katmai National Park, this time to
show off the bears and other splendors. It's one of the most remarkable
coastlines in any national park and effects everyone who spends time
there. Bill DeCreeft is an example, he's become a bear admirer himself and
made a statement about it by no longer flying bear hunters.
Increased bear viewing opportunities will lead to greater
protection from hunting and habitat loss. The more people who go to places
like this, the more friends bears will have.
John spends summers exploring the coast and bears of Katmai with
individuals seeking a unique Alaska adventure. In a bear's environment you
must give in to the fact that only by the decisions that you make can you
help to create a safe bear encounter. A bear's life thrives on
instinct, gestures and intent. Along with his enhanced senses of
smell and hearing, a bear is constantly making decisions that are best for
him. Your choices have to be best for the bears also. Conservation
can come by adopting true insights towards nature, and help to dispel
horrifying myths that have been tagged to animals such as wolves and
bears. Simply, conservation can be spread by word-of-mouth from old
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