McNeil River State Game Sanctuary

waldo.jpg (25251 bytes)
Hanging out with "Waldo" in Alaska. A 800 pound male bear who frequents McNeil River.

For the past three years my mom and I have been applying for permits to go see the "River of Bears" up in the State of Alaska. In 1999 we finally won two permits! 2500 people apply for permits each year and only 175 are given out. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game strictly regulates the number of people who are able to visit the sanctuary. Needless to say, we were very lucky!

McNeil River, in southwest Alaska, is home to the largest gathering of bears in the world. Each year they come to feast on the salmon that make their way up Mikfik Creek and McNeil River. It is an absolutely amazing experience and one I will never forget. I have included some pictures of our trip. I hope you enjoy them!

(Take a trip with me to McNeil River in this narrated picture gallery)

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  • The Live BearCam - There was a remote camera installed at McNeil River when we were there. You can watch the bears as they fish now. The picture quality is terrible, but it is pretty neat.
  • David Cary's Page - He was one of the guys in the group. He has some great quality pictures on his page.
  • Mark Hardgrave's Page - This is probably the best site out there. He went in 1998 and has a lot of information on McNeil River and some great tips on what to bring. Check it out!
  • Leland Rucker's Story/Journal About Our Trip To McNeil - He is a journalist from Colorado and wrote a story about living amongst the bears at McNeil for 5 days. He was one of the ten people in our group and he recounts what we all experienced on our 5 days together. It is great!

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