Chugach State Park officials warn hikers to be ‘bear aware’ on popular trails
Updated at 9:32 p.m. on Wednesday, June 8
Officials with the Chugach State Park are encouraging hikers to be “bear aware” following two separate moose kills reported recently on the Turnagain Arm Trail and Crow Pass Trail.
The Turnagain Arm Trail was closed on May 31 between Potter Creek and McHugh Creek after a fresh moose carcass was discovered. Hikers on Crow Pass Trail reported a moose kill to staff at the Eagle River Nature Center Tuesday, leading to a warning for hikers.
The kill is “located on the Girdwood side of Eagle River, a few yards off the trail near the the sign that points to the ford site,” or roughly one mile northwest from the ford site, a statement on the Crow Pass Facebook page said.
Officials suspect both moose were killed by bears, which will protect their food, creating a dangerous situation for hikers. A spokeswoman for the park said hikers can help prevent a dangerous encounter with a bear by talking loudly and carrying a bear horn and bear spray.
The Department of Fish and Game was notified of the kills. The park spokeswoman said the Turnagain Arm Trail would be checked “some time in the next few days, probably by Friday,” at which point they would decide if it was safe to reopen the trail.
Fish and Game officials said they will likely close down a two-mile portion of the Crow Pass trail before the weekend.
“When a bear has found a valuable food source like a moose carcass, particularly brown bears are very well known for defending that from all comers, including humans,” said David Battle, a wildlife biologist for Fish and Game.
He said they rely on hikers to report moose kills near trails.
“Any time you’re out on a trail, watch out for scavenger birds that might indicate the presence of a carcass,” he said. “Watch out for smells like something dead, and if you detect something like that or you see something like that, back out the way you came.”
Battle said a trail closure for a moose kill typically lasts about 14 days.
KTVA’s Daniella Rivera contributed to this report.
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