Opening Ceremony for New Elevated Bridge and Boardwalk at Brooks Camp
A brown bear and her cub near the old floating bridge in Katmai National Park’s Brooks Camp area.
KING SALMON—After years of planning and many months of construction, a new elevated bridge and boardwalk now spans the Brooks River, greatly enhancing the safety and movement of both people and wildlife in the Brooks Camp area.
This new installation will help to minimize potential human-wildlife interactions between park visitors and Katmai’s world famous brown bears by elevating pedestrian traffic away from the bear’s feeding and resting areas. A floating bridge had previously been used since 1982 and was frequently subject to closures due to bear jams. Such incidents are expected to be greatly reduced by the new elevated bridge and boardwalk, resulting in the safer and timelier movement of park visitors across Brooks River. The new bridge also offers additional overlook locations from which park visitors can observe the river and its abundant wildlife.
Planning for the bridge and boardwalk began over a decade ago. Its construction constitutes the culmination of hard work by literally thousands of individuals. The National Park Service is grateful for the support this project has received over the years.
An opening ceremony will be held on-site at Brooks Camp on Saturday June 29, 2019 beginning at 11:00 a.m. This event is open to the public. The bridge will close for about an hour during the ribbon-cutting ceremony, reopening as soon as remarks are concluded.
Map of new elevated bridge over Brooks River, taken from the Brooks River Visitor Access Environmental Impact Statement. Funding for phase 2 of construction, stretching from the viewing platform on the south side of the river to the bus parking area, has not been allocated and there are not plans to construct that portion of the boardwalk at this time.
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Spreading the Word
When Bristol Bay Native Corporation (BBNC) first aired TV commercials featuring the tagline, “A Place That’s Always Been,” the reaction was surprising. Not only because they received numerous accolades and marketing awards for the campaign but because, at the time, it was rare for Alaska Native corporations to market themselves through the media.