In the spring of 2011 the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge selected the Kodiak Brown Bear Center to receive the “sole special use permit” they were issuing for public bear viewing operations under their guidelines. This sole special use permit grants us the exclusive right to conduct bear viewing operations at this highly sought after bear viewing site.
The O’Malley River is located at the southern tip of Karluk Lake and is a 20 minute journey by boat from Camp Island. Like our other trails, access to the viewing area is by an unimproved and uneven game trail. The hike to the viewing area is a 600 yard walk and is more strenuous and challenging due to the changes in elevation and distance. The O’Malley viewing platform is the most physically challenging to access for our bear viewers.
To ensure that all of us, including the bears have a safe, enjoyable, and rewarding experience, we provide you with an in-depth educational presentation and safety orientation prior to your bear viewing adventure. This will familiarize and assist you in getting acclimated to the environment of Karluk Lake, bear behavior and our bear viewing program and etiquette.
From the Kodiak Brown Bear Center on Camp Island, you will embark on a short boat ride to one of our prime bear viewing locations. Each location offers a unique glimpse into the life of these bears and highlights the grandeur of Kodiak Island. Upon arrival at the site, your immersion into the bear’s habitat and environment is closely monitored and supervised by our highly trained and experienced guides to that you will have a quality experience to observe study and acquire a deeper understanding and appreciation for these legendary bears. Each of our bear viewing locations has a different level of difficulty to access. Based upon your physical condition and abilities you will be ushered to one of our three bear viewing locations.
Due to the remoteness of the Kodiak Brown Bear Center, getting here offers some unique and exciting transportation opportunities that epitomize the “Alaskan Experience.” From Kodiak, you will board a rugged and dependable Alaskan float plane. These proven classic aircrafts have been an integral part of Alaska’s aviation history for over 50 years. They are renowned throughout the aviation industry for their reliability and being safe aerial workhorses. Your 45 minute flight to the Kodiak Brown Bear Center from Kodiak will expose you to some of the most breathtaking and awe-inspiring scenery and habitat Kodiak has to offer. During your flight, you may see humpback whales and sea otters in coastal fjords, mountain goats on rugged peaks, Sitka black-tailed deer roaming through meadows, and bald eagles soaring overhead.
Our modern guest cabins invoke the rustic appeal of remote Alaskan wilderness lodges while incorporating all the luxuries of a five-star resort. Each guest cabin has its own private deck overlooking Karluk Lake. All of our cabins have 24/7 electricity, full bathroom facilities, wireless internet access and comfortable beds with fresh linens. Hearty meals are prepared by our talented and friendly staff at our dining cabin which is just a short walk from your cabin. Imagine waking up each morning and stepping out to take in the majestic vistas Karluk Lake has to offer, or listening to the bears fishing across the lake or at nearby Thumb River on a still night.
Your day starts with a hearty breakfast, followed by a briefing from your guide about the day’s planned bear viewing destination and activities. Departure times may fluctuate depending on the weather and available daylight. After the briefing, you will board one of our specially designed boats for your safe and scenic ride to one of our bear viewing locations. After a day of bear viewing we return to the center where you can enjoy a hot shower, share photos and enjoy a delicious dinner prepared by our warm and friendly staff.
©Kodiak Bear Center