Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

Bear charges cruise ship crew members on trail


September 12, 2019

A bear charged a group of cruise ship crewmembers while hiking the Skyline Trail Wednesday morning. One of the hikers sustained minor injuries.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologist Carl Koch interviewed the crewmembers shortly after the incident. He said the hikers were in pairs about 30 feet from each other about a quarter mile past the 2,000 feet elevation sign. The first pair rounded a bend in the trail and surprised a sow and her cub.

“The bear charged a male and came fairly close to a female who fell and got minor injuries from the fall, not from contact from the bear,” Koch said. “As soon as (the sow and cub) passed the woman who fell they dropped off the side of the trail and high tailed it out of there.”

Koch said while some of the hikers said they saw the bear swipe at the woman who was injured, the woman didn’t believe the bear made contact. Cruise ship medical staff told Koch that the wounds were not consistent with a bear attack.

Port agent liaison Leslie Ross said the injured crewmember received stiches. “They’re pretty shook up,” Ross said. “It could have been a lot worse.”

Koch said he plans to post bear warning signs at various trail heads. He advised people to make sure they make noise on the trail, stay in a group and carry a deterrent. “And, of course, that’s true of all bear country,” Koch said.


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