Bears of the McNeil River

by Mark Hardgrave

Welcome to Bears of the McNeil River. In late August of 1998 I was one of the lucky 140 people that get to visit the McNeil River Sanctuary.  The photo below is "Teddy".  All the bears at McNeil have names given to them by the rangers and biologists that work there.  "Teddy" is a favorite at McNeil and has visited the sanctuary for over 20 years.  Of all the bears at McNeil, she is the most tolerant of humans.  Often, as she did on this day, she will lay within a few feet of the viewing pad and take a nap or nurse her cubs.  Later on this page you will see how close she and her cub got to us at the viewing pad.  Phot was taken with a Nikon F4s, Nikkor 300 2.8 EDIF, Fuji Provia film.  Scaned with a Nikon scanner.


This is one of my favorite images of "Teddy" as she was walking by us on the lower viewing pad at the upper falls.  She passed by so close I wondered if I would be able to focus on her.  Since the 300 mm was the largest lens I was using at McNeil, I was excited when they would come by so close to get these "up close" shots.  As she walked up the bank from the lower falls towards the upper falls, she was walking on a worn path she had used before.  Guess what?  We were on that path!  As she got closer, I wondered if we should slowly move back.  In a few minutes she went off into the water and crossed right in front of us.  I looked around and saw that she would probly go up the bank right by me!  I knew I would only have one shot as she went by.  I waited and waited till she looked at us.  This was what I got!  The shot of a lifetime.  Nikon F4s, Nikkor 300 2.8 EDIF, Fuji Provia film.

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