Kincaid Park visitors this weekend should be on alert for a black bear spotted in the area, which may have briefly awakened after this week’s rising temperatures across the Anchorage Bowl.

Reports of the male bear have been coming in to the state Department of Fish and Game, according to spokesman Ken Marsh.

“The bear’s been spotted regularly since Wednesday between the snowmaking loop and Nordic Ski Association bunker,” Marsh said.

A Friday trail report, posted on the Nordic Skiing Association of Anchorage’s website, included a photo of the bear roaming near a bulldozer at the park.

A black bear active during winter (at center, near the front tire of a front-end-loader) has been reported in Kincaid Park since Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019. (Courtesy Nordic Skiing Association of Anchorage)

“[Operations staffer Craig Norman] said he will call Fish and Game as this bear is hungry, not afraid and not responding to loud noises,” NSAA staff wrote. “So, ski with caution today…[Cross Country Alaska] reports sightings on Gong Hill yesterday, but it could be anywhere!”

KTVA was attempting to reach the association Friday afternoon.

Marsh said none of the reports to Fish and Game to date have indicated that the bear is aggressive.

“Sounds like he’s up and walking around a little bit,” Marsh said. “There’s been some reports that it’s been spotted feeding on grass in a certain area there.”

Fish and Game is aware of several black-bear dens in the park, Marsh said. Bears usually stay there in winter, however, unless temperatures see an abrupt rise — as they have Friday, hitting 44 degrees and leading to school closures and slick roads across town.

“Sometimes, in situations like this when it warms up in the middle of winter, there’ll be some thaw and a little bit of water might trickle into a den, and kind of make a bear get up and want to shake it off,” Marsh said. “But when things cool down, they generally want to get back into the den and go to sleep.”

Food is also a factor in that decision, Marsh said, and a bear will generally hibernate again unless a food source like trash or a moose carcass is available.

“We don’t have any indication that that’s the case with this bear,” Marsh said.

For now, Fish and Game is urging visitors to the West Anchorage park to exercise the same kind of bear awareness they would in summer.

“If you spot it give it some space, don’t approach it,” Marsh said. “Turn around; if you need to go another way, that would be maybe a prudent thing to do.”

Scott Jensen, Melissa Frey and Cassie Schirm contributed information to this story.

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