Ecologist Chris Morgan goes on a hike for a beautiful look at the Alaskan Peninsula … and sees some bear tracks along the way.
Chris: “I hiked to this peak on the Alaska Peninsula, following steep, brushy bear trails, to get a better view of my surroundings and the giant braided river near our basecamp. Even on the peak there were bear tracks – they wind their way across every inch of this landscape it seems. Of course, the bears aren’t just here for the lush vegetation. They are here for the fish. Every year huge numbers of salmon return to the river systems on the Alaska Peninsula to spawn, and by doing so they bring essential nutrients from the ocean to the land. The fish feed the bears, and the bears feed the forests – by dragging half-eaten salmon carcasses into the forest, and by depositing nitrogen in the form of scat and urine. Closing this perfect ecological circle is the fact that the healthy trees then provide shade necessary to keep water temperatures low enough for salmon. Just watching this video memory gives me goosebumps – I’m never happier than when in places like this.”