Open house for Pack Creek bear viewing today

The Admiralty Island National Monument is hosting an open house today for those interested in outfitting and guiding opportunities for bear viewing in the Pack Creek Zoological Area. The open house takes place from 3-7 p.m. at the National Forest office building at 8510 Mendenhall Loop Road. Attendants should use the rear entrance.

The event will serve as an information session for those to apply for nature-based viewing outfitting and guiding permits to take visitors to the Pack Creek Bear Viewing Area, Windfall Harbor and Swan Cove in the 2012 season. The peak time for the season runs from July 5-Aug. 25.

“For a long time there has been more demand than opportunities available for outfitters and guides to bring visitors out there,” said Jennifer Berger, wilderness and recreation manager for the Admiralty Island National Monument. “We only had limited opportunity for folks to visit.”

The applications are taken through a competitive process and permits will be awarded based on established evaluation criteria and other required documents as described in the prospectus document. Personnel from the Tongass National Forest and the Alaska Department of Fish & Game, which manage the Pack Creek area cooperatively, will be available to meet with prospective applicants and provide information regarding the opportunity at the event.

“We really look forward to visiting with people and seeing some business opportunities from this that benefit our visiting public,” Berger said.

She said the permits could be for either day use or overnight use that includes camping. These who get permits will get the chance to prepare and book trips ahead of time.

The prospectus and associated documents and application can be found at http://bit.ly/iiOq6H.

Pack Creek is about 40 miles south of Juneau, in the northeast corner of Admiralty Island National Monument. Approximately 1,500 brown bears inhabit the island.

• Contact reporter Jonathan Grass at 523-2276 or at jonathan.grass@juneauempire.com.

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