Part of two trails are closing in Kachemak Bay State Park due to an aggressive black bear with young cubs. Park staff say no one has been hurt, but the park closed both the Saddle and Glacier Lake trails earlier this week to prevent any potential incidents.
On Thursday, the park re-opened the trails between the Glacier Spit and the tram and between the Saddle and Glacier Trail.
Alaska State Parks Ranger Jason Okuly says rangers began receiving reports about the bear last week.
“We have heard reports of the cub on one side of the trail, mama bear on the other side of the trail and people walking in between but no interaction,” Okuly said. “It's not necessarily an aggressive or hazardous bear in the sense of it purposely targeting people or going after their backpacks or going after their camp but it’s a bear with young cubs and it’s defending her cubs. It's a very unpredictable situation."
Okuly says rangers are working with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to monitor the area. He adds that it’s unusual for a bear to stay in an area with a large amount human activity for so long.
“That kind of raises some red flags about why this bear is hanging around,” he said. “Is there a good food source or is there a potential den site, an area where the bears feel safe?"
Still, Okuly says it’s important to remember that people are entering bear habitat while hiking in the park. He is unsure how long portions of the trails will be closed, and he says park staff and Fish and Game hope the bear will leave the area on its own.
Editor's note: This story has been updated to include new information about the sections of trails that are closed.