If you’re intent on seeing some of Alaska’s brown bears mow down migrating salmon this summer, now is the time to enter the McNeil River bear viewing lottery.
Entrants vie for the chance to snag a permit that allows them to watch the bears that live in the remote McNeil River State Game Sanctuary, some 100 air miles from Homer. As many as 80 bears have been observed there at once, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
Those who win a permit can watch bears sometime between June 7 and Aug. 25. An application costs $30, due by March 1 via mail or online at Fish and Game’s website. Winners will be chosen in mid-March. If selected, Alaska residents pay for a $225 permit per person, while nonresidents pay a $525 fee.
[Apply for McNeil bear-viewing here]
In a separate raffle, two permits are also available through Fish and Game’s nonprofit, the Outdoor Heritage Foundation of Alaska. Winners get two permits for June 15-18 and money for lodging and travel. That raffle can be entered until April 2.
“Worth the cost?” Fish and Game asked in a news release. “Absolutely.”