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“Very interesting!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Fortress of the Bear

Fortress of the Bear
4639 Sawmill Creek Rd, Sitka, AK 99835
907-747-3032
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Top Rated
$689*
and up
Exclusive Pack Creek Bear Viewing from Juneau
Ranked #4 of 12 Attractions in Sitka
Type: Farms, Zoos & Aquariums
Attraction details
Victoria,TX
Top Contributor
81 reviews 81 reviews
19 attraction reviews
Reviews in 42 cities Reviews in 42 cities
47 helpful votes 47 helpful votes
“Very interesting!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 19, 2014

Far out of town....must take a taxi! Very rustic structure....but is a great cause. I loved seeing the bears in a natural....but controlled atmosphere. The bears seem to be well taken care of! Small gift shop...nominal fee to enter.

Visited August 2014
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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176 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
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English first
Bluffton, Ohio, United States
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“This place is amazing!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 18, 2014

The bears here have been given a much-deserved second chance by people who clearly care deeply about them. The cost of admission is reasonable and definitely worth it. A must-see in Sitka!!!

Visited August 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego
Top Contributor
69 reviews 69 reviews
24 attraction reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
45 helpful votes 45 helpful votes
“A sad exhibit with trash bears”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 14, 2014

We couldn't figure out why this was a popular exhibit since it was basically a collection of problem bears that have been relocated to what used to be some sort of large cement tank.

Visited July 2014
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BearManagerFoB, Manager at Fortress of the Bear, responded to this review, August 20, 2014
Hi Ruth,

I'd like to take a minute to respond to your recent review of Fortress of the Bear. First of all, I would like to give you some correct information regarding our facility and our bears. None of our bears are 'problem bears'. As it states on our website, facebook page and the literature material you can pick up at our facility, all of the bears in our care are rescued orphan bears.

The state of Alaska does not currently have any rehabilitation program in place for orphaned bear cubs. Whenever a mother bear ventures into one of our towns or villages and gets herself killed (shot, hit by a car, dies eating trash), the state will trap and kill her cubs. We started the Fortress of the Bear in the hopes of giving orphaned bears an alternative to being destroyed - a long, healthy life in captivity. They are captive ambassadors for their wild counterparts, and help us to educate the public as to what's happening to orphan bears around the state. We receive absolutely no funding from the city, state or government.

One of our end goals here at Fortress of the Bear is to utilize the research and knowledge we can gain from the bears in our care, to start a pilot rehabilitation program for the state of Alaska. Our end goal is to change the current legislation, and eventually put wild bear cubs back out into the wild, after we have had the opportunity to raise them to a good, healthy status.

As for our enclosures, they used to be the water clarification tanks for an old paper pulp mill that used to operate in Sitka. We have had the opportunity to up-cycle them into some of the largest bear habitats in the United States. They are approximately three quarters of an acre in size, which is nine times larger than the minimum required space to house a brown bear in captivity. Despite this, we have plans in place to link the two enclosures by the end of the year - thereby doubling all the bear's space. The enclosures all sport a natural water source that flows and drains through the exhibit space daily. Native plants are landscaped throughout the enclosures for the bears to eat. Live fish are put in the pools to provide all the bears with a private salmon run at the appropriate time each year. Every day, our bear keepers hide food throughout the enclosures for the bears to forage for, and provide different toys for them to play with and enrich their lives. Our bears exhibit absolutely no negative stereotype behaviours - no pacing, no head swimming, no over grooming, no depression... They are healthy, happy, stimulated animals.

In answer to your original thought - perhaps we are a popular attraction in Sitka because are a small, non-profit organization, doing their best to improve the current situation for orphaned bears in Alaska.

We're sorry to hear that you didn't enjoy your visit.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Murphy, Texas
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“Best on your own excursion!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 13, 2014

We were amazed at this place! The bears were close up and each has a unique personality! Les, the founder is out there feeding them and talking with the visitors, answering questions. His dream was to rescue abandoned bears and he does a miraculous job of it! Clair (bear mgr) and Chris (op mgr) also love and are committed to this great project. You will fall in love with this team and these bears before you leave. When you get off the ship, there are buses out front. Ask for the bus to Fortress of the Bears for $13.00 (this is transportation & admission-a real value)! The buses pick up on the hour. It's that easy!!!

Visited August 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Perth, Australia
Senior Contributor
46 reviews 46 reviews
19 attraction reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
49 helpful votes 49 helpful votes
“Great to help rehabilitate bears”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 7, 2014

It's a great way to see bears up close and to contribute to their welfare. Our guide was passionate and knowledgeable and it's well worth spending an hour or two here.

Visited July 2014
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