The Bear Blog with Chris Morgan
Video Diary: The Way the World Once Was

In the heart of the Gates of the Arctic National Park, Chris meditates on the importance of our national park system.

Chris: “Gates of the Arctic National Park is an unknown jewel in the North American park system. I knew very little about it before our work on Bears of the Last Frontier began, but it quickly stole my heart. It is a combination of vast rolling tundra, and massive jagged peaks that feed thousands of tiny creeks and dozens of mighty rivers. The bush plane flight that brought us here from the tiny town of Bettles was undoubtedly the most dramatic flight I have ever been on. The park lies in the heart of the vast Brooks Range – the northernmost major mountain chain in the world. The park is giant – over 13,000 square miles (about the size of Switzerland), and was established with great foresight in 1980. It is a park with truly Alaskan wilderness at its heart, with no established roads, trails, visitor facilities, or campgrounds.

In contrast, many areas in Alaska do NOT enjoy the same level of protection as its National Parks. The National Petroleum Reserve, Alaska is one example. It is a chunk of land the size of ten Yellowstones, yet most people have never heard of it, and its future as an untouched wilderness hangs in the balance due to the fact that nearly three trillion tons of coal and huge quantities of oil lie beneath its surface.”

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  • Devonna ellen Preston

    Bears are made of the same dust as we, and breathe the same winds and drink of the same waters. A bear’s days are warmed by the same sun, his dwellings are overdomed by the same blue sky, and his life turns and ebbs with heart-pulsings like ours, and was poured from the same First Fountain. And whether he at last goes to our stingy heaven or no, he has terrestrial immortality. His life unstinted, unplanned, is above the accidents of time, and his years, markless and boundless, equal Eternity. October 1871

    Thought you would so appreciate some of John Muir’s writing about his Observations in the wilderness….this is from his Journel’s

  • Don Hoebeke

    I have been fascinated by brown bears ever since my first trip to Alaska 10 yrs. ago. I began to read everything that I could get my hands on about brown/grizzly bears and was astonished at how widespread this animal is. I found that it not only occurs in North America, but all across Russia, the Kamchattka peninsula, on the larger islands of the Kurile chain ( an Island chain that stretches between the tip of Kamchattka to the big Japanese island of Hokkaido ) Hokkaido also has a population of brown bears. Brown/grizzly bears also occur on several large islands off of the southern Russian coast ( such as Bolshoi Shantar Island ) and in eastern Europe and the Balkins with Romania having a large population. They are also found in smaller numbers in Sweden, Finland, and possibly Norway. There are tiny ‘island populations’ in northern Spain and Italy. A small number of brown bears can also be found in the Gobi Desert of all places! What a fascinating animal to study. I have heard that some bear biologists even think that had it not been for the influx of Europeans and modern firearms the brown bear would have traveled thru Mexico and Central America to South America and eventually populated the Andes. Brown/grizzly bears are a marvel of evolution and, even though they can be dangerous, we must learn to live with them and not let them slip away like so many other species have.

  • wmv player

    Chris, all my family (me too) likes to watch your episods. Bears are my favourite animals and I want to thank you for paying them enough attantion.
    Wmv player

  • Mark Lingerfelt

    I have seen your program several times and each time I see it I learn more and more about the bears and there envirement!! Makes me want to travel to Alaska and see them for myself!! Terrific program!!

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