There's no surer sign of fall than the annual closure of the Albert Loop Trail at the Eagle River Nature Center.
The popular trail was closed Thursday and will remain off-limits until freeze-up, according to an announcement sent out Thursday.
Since 1997, the Alaska Department of Natural Resources has closed the trail near the Eagle River in Chugach State Park due to the presence of spawning salmon. The salmon attract bears, who use the bridges and beaver dams near the trail to fish.
The closure does not impact other trails near the popular center at the end of Eagle River Road, including the Crow Pass Trail, the Rodak Loop (and its viewing platforms) or the Dew Mound Trail. Those trails remain open, though the department advised people traveling in bear country to be aware bruins could be in the area.
"Be prepared to encounter a bear and be knowledgable in recognizzng bear beahavior and responding to an encounter," read the press release.
Among the most common bear-avoidance practices advised for hikers by Fish and Game include traveling in groups, making lots of noise and carrying a deterrent such as bear spray or a firearm.