Mayor Begich Closes Rover's Run Due To Bear Attacks

The rise in bear attacks in the Rover's Run area has prompted multiple initiatives from biologist hunting the bear to closing the trails. Photo courtesy the AP.

by Jamey Kirk

In response to the recent bear attacks, Mayor Mark Begich announced on Tuesday Rover's Run Trail in Far North Bicentennial Park will be closed to the public. Primarily a winter use trail, Rover's Run will remain closed until the trail is deemed safe for public use.

Steps are being taken by Anchorage Parks and Recreation to close the trail. Trail users at the Far North Bicentennial Trail User Group were informed of the closure at the Campbell Creek Science Center Monday evening.

As outlined by the Mayor's press statement, the trail "runs along the south bank of the south fork of Campbell Creek and extends from BLM Track Viewpoint Trail (Tour of Anchorage Trail) to the South Gasline Trail at FNBP." Also affected by the closure is a segment of Moose Meadow Trail which intersects Rover's Run Tail. This section will be closed to the public.

"The recent bear attacks in Anchorage have caused us great concern," said Mayor Begich. "The trail closure, although inconvenient to trail users, is necessary for public safety.  Our hope is that the combination of this trail closure and continued work on bear management initiatives will effectively decrease bear encounters in Anchorage."

Further steps are also being undertaken by the administration, those steps include: increasing the number of bear-proof trash cans in neighborhoods surrounding the park, in parks and along greenbelt trails; requesting additional resources from the state for the Department of Fish and Game's bear management branch; and increasing bear safety training by releasing a bear safety video, which is available on the municipality's web site.

While acknowledging the inconveniences caused by the trail closures, the administration reminds trail users that a variety of other trails are open to them within the Rover's Run area. The administration also warns that the FNBP trails may not be completely safe from bear encounters.

Recommendations made by the Parks and Recreation Department for safe use of trails include, traveling in groups of three or more, making noise and carrying bear spray.