Monitor presence to diminish in Chilkoot Corridor
May 3, 2018
Chilkoot Bear Foundation volunteers may take a backseat during the busy summer bear season at Chilkoot River as State Parks officials say they are concerned about liability.
Southeast Area Superintendent Preston Kroes said at the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve Advisory Council meeting last week that the state is trying to move away from putting volunteers “on the frontlines” of enforcement.
“Having volunteers tell people ‘you can’t do that,’ and with bear safety concerns, the state is liable,” Kroes said. He the state’s risk management team has recently been coming down hard on how volunteers are utilized in state parks.
“With possibly hostile public, we generally don’t put volunteers in that position,” Kroes said. Bear foundation volunteers are still welcome to hand out information and talk to visitors.
Kroes said parks staff will remain the same as last year with park ranger Travis Russell and two other staff members monitoring daily. “If people are violating some of our regulations, Travis has the discretion to cite them,” Kroes said.
Bear foundation president Pam Randles said the group’s volunteers were only trying to fill gaps in enforcement.
“If Kroes is concerned about liability and doesn’t want us to help, then that’s ok,” Randles said.