Proper Outdoor Ethics for Bear Country

A black bear warns kayakers that they are too close.
A black bear is alerted to kayakers nearby. Notice the folded back ears.


"Bears keep me humble. They help me to keep the world in perspective and to understand where I fit on the spectrum of life. We need to preserve the wilderness and its monarchs for ourselves, and for the dreams of children. We should fight for these things as if our life depended upon it, because it does."
- Wayne Lynch (from Bears: Monarchs of the Northern Wilderness, 1993)


The wild coastal rainforests of Alaska afford the opportunity to visit some of the few places in the world where bear populations have not been dramatically impacted by human activity -- yet. We must take responsiblity, respect these magnificent creatures and successfully steward the habitat they need. Learning the appropriate ethics for conducting ourselves in bear country is fundamental to fulfilling this obligation and keeping our bears - both brown and black - wild and healthy.


Cultivate your ethics for bear country by reading and discussing the following:


The need for proper ethics in bear country is not unique to Alaska. We must be responsible wherever bears may be. We must ensure that wild bears remain wild, that people-habituated bears do not become food-conditioned and that depleted populations do not suffer from additional stressors.


“It would be fitting, I think, if among the last manmade tracks on earth would be found the huge footprints of the great brown bear.”- Earl Fleming (American naturalist, 1958)