The application deadline is fast approaching for 2017 lottery permits to visit McNeil River State Game Sanctuary, Alaska’s premier brown bear viewing site. Online applications must be submitted by midnight on March 1, or mailed and received by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game by March 1.
Online applications and printable application forms are available at www.mcneilriver.adfg.alaska.gov through the “Permits” tab and “Viewing Permits” link. A nonrefundable application fee of $25 per person is required and up to three people may apply together as a group. Applications are entered into a lottery and if drawn, Alaska residents pay a $150 permit fee and nonresidents $350.
Located 100 air miles west of Homer, the McNeil River hosts the world’s largest known gathering of brown bears; hundreds of people apply each year for permits to watch bears drawn to the river to feed on migrating salmon. The sanctuary is open for bear viewing June 7–August 25, through this permit process.
More information about visiting McNeil River is available on the department website at the link above or by contacting Refuge Manager Ed Weiss at (907) 267-2189 or firstname.lastname@example.org.