A message from Jack Cooper’s family

We lost an amazing boy when our son Jack was killed by a bear at Bird Ridge after competing in the Robert Spurr Memorial Hill Climb. We are devastated to not have his excitement and joy around us.

What happened was awful and tragic. What came after was an unbelievable amount of support. We are so grateful for the mountain running community and emergency responders who helped us that day. We saw so much sacrifice and kindness in the eyes of people on the mountain, racers, race organizers, rangers, troopers and police officers.

We are sorry that the bears were killed; yet we trust the park service and support their decision. We will never fully recover from the shock and sorrow of Jack's life ending the way it did at 16. This was tragic in so many ways and we will forever be different, yet we will not hate this place because of what happened.

We are Alaskans. Jack and his family raced, hiked, fished, boated and loved living here. This is a great land. Bird Ridge is a beautiful place. Racing and community events are a good part of Alaska.

Thank you to everyone who has shown us love and support as we grieve and as we celebrate the bright light Jack was to so many.

— Jack Cooper's family