McNeil River Bear Viewing

Feeling those mid-winter pandemic blues? It’s a new year, and time to prepare for new adventures!

If you’ve ever wanted to view bears up close in their natural environment, then viewing brown bears at McNeil River State Game Sanctuary should be your next big adventure.

Each summer Alaskan Peninsula brown bears gather at the McNeil River State Game Sanctuary to breed, feast on sedges and salmon, and raise their young.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game manages a bear viewing program at the sanctuary and some lucky visitors are there to observe the spectacle, up close and personal, guided each day by Department wildlife guides.

Visitors are selected by lottery and, if drawn, Alaska residents pay a $225 permit fee and nonresidents $525. Applications for this summer viewing program must be submitted by midnight on March 1. Hard copy applications submitted by mail must be received by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game by close of business on March 1. A nonrefundable application fee of $30 per person is required.

Online applications and printable application forms are available at through the “Permits” tab and “Viewing Permits” link.

For information on the McNeil River bear viewing program and application process, go to: or contact Lands and Refuges Manager Ed Weiss at 267-2189 or [email protected]