Alaska Fish & Wildlife News
February 2018

McNeil Deadline Approaches
New Videos Highlight Sanctuary

By Staff

The application deadline for lottery permits to visit Alaska’s premier brown bear viewing site at McNeil River State Game Sanctuary is fast approaching. Online applications must be submitted by midnight on March 1, or mailed and received by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game by March 1.

Online applications and printable application forms are available at through the “Permits” tab and “Viewing Permits” link. More information about visiting McNeil River is available on the website or by calling (907) 267-2257.


A nonrefundable application fee of $25 per person is required and up to three people may apply together as a group. Applications are entered into a lottery and if drawn, winners pay an additional permit fee. You can also learn about other permit options such as standby or scientific permits by viewing the McNeil website.

Located 100 air miles west of Homer, the McNeil River hosts the world’s largest known gathering of brown bears; hundreds of people apply each year for permits to watch bears drawn to the river to feed on migrating salmon.


Fish and Game, working with Wayne Hall (Stoutman Productions), has created a set of six short videos that offer an overview of bear viewing at McNeil River and provide answers to the most frequently asked questions about the bears and the sanctuary. Learn the lay of the land and discover what to expect from a visit to the area.

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