Man reports aggressive brown bear on Salmon Creek Trail

brown bear at Crescent Lake in brush
A brown bear spotted near Crescent Lake in August 2014. (Creative Commons photo by Nathanael Coyne)

Wildlife officials say hikers should avoid Salmon Creek Trail in Juneau for the time being after a runner reported encountering a charging brown bear.

According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, a man reported that a brown bear came out of the brush as he ran up the trail Sunday afternoon. It charged him twice and roared at him before running back into the woods.

The incident took place about 1.5 miles up the trail and lasted only a few seconds. The bear did not touch the man, who lives in Sitka.

He told Fish and Game he immediately turned around and went back down the trail.

“Brown bears are unusual in that area, but it sounds like a pretty credible report based on the interview of the individual involved, so we’re recommending people give that trail a break for a while,” said Carl Koch, an assistant area management biologist for Fish and Game.

Koch posted signs near the trailhead Tuesday and alerted Alaska Electric Light & Power and Bartlett Regional Hospital so they could notify their staffs. He said Fish and Game will re-evaluate and probably check the trail for signs of bears in a week or so if they don’t receive any further reports.

Koch said anyone who does decide to hike in the area should be sure to travel in a group, make noise, carry bear spray and keep dogs on a leash.

“If anybody sees a brown bear anywhere in that general area, just let us know that you’re seeing it so we can kind of keep tabs on it,” Koch said.

Brown bear sightings are rare near downtown Juneau. In 2017, two brown bears were shot and killed in the Juneau area in separate incidents. One was in Tee Harbor after a bear raided a chicken coop, and another was shot by a homeowner who felt threatened on Douglas Island.

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