Forest Wagner, left, is shown on Flattop  near Anchorage with Andy Sterns, center, and Joe Wagner, Forest's father, on June 25. (Photo courtesy Forest Wagner)

Forest Wagner, left, is shown on Flattop near Anchorage with Andy Sterns, center, and Joe Wagner, Forest's father, on June 25. (Photo courtesy Forest Wagner)

After bear mauling, UAS professor expected to make a full recovery

  • By LISA PHU
  • Wednesday, July 6, 2016 10:05pm
  • News

It’s been less than three months since University of Alaska Southeast assistant professor Forest Wagner was mauled by a bear, and he’s already back to hiking mountains.

“After ten surgeries and ongoing physical rehabilitation, Wagner is now walking around and has even climbed peaks on the weekends in Anchorage where he is residing as an outpatient,” according to a Wednesday afternoon news release by UAS.

The release came with a photo of Wagner, 35, on top of Flattop Mountain near Anchorage on June 25.

Wagner was mauled by a brown bear April 18 while leading a group of students on a six-day mountaineering course on the northeastern side of Mount Emmerich, near Haines. The trip was part of a University of Alaska Southeast field mountaineering course.

“Wagner was on skis and apparently surprised the bear, which charged and attacked him. In retrospect, Wagner suspects the bear was not hibernating due to an unusually warm spring, and that his ski track likely landed too close to the bear’s den. A bear cub was seen nearby. The sow was undoubtedly being protective of her cub,” the release said.

After the bear attack, Wagner was medevaced to Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage, where he was originally listed in “critical” condition. After being released, Wagner stayed in Anchorage for outpatient physical therapy and wound care.

Wagner still needs to get a skin graft due to a major injury on his left side. He’s expected to make a full recovery and plans to return to Juneau in August for the start of UAS’s academic year, according to the release.

“I am thankful that the bear did not hurt any of the people I led onto Mt. Emmerich, and for the overwhelming support I’ve felt since the incident from family, friends, and colleagues. It is my privilege and obligation to share and participate in adventure settings in the natural world. I harbor no ill feelings toward the bear,” Wagner said in a statement.

Wagner has worked at UAS since 2006 teaching courses like outdoor leadership, rock climbing, ice climbing, backcountry navigation and glacier rescue. He’s led many extended expedition courses.

More in News

Drummers perform during a celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Dena’ina Wellness Center in Kenai, Alaska, on Friday, July 12, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenaitze tribe celebrates 10 years of ‘far-fetched dream’ at wellness center

Community members recognized the work done at the Dena’ina Wellness Center over the past decade

The Kenai Safeway is seen on Wednesday, July 20, 2022. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai and Soldotna Safeways may be sold under proposed Kroger-Albertsons merger

The local stores will be sold to CS Wholesale Grocers only if the merger overcomes suit from the FTC

Sockeye salmon caught in a set gillnet are dragged up onto the beach at a test site for selective harvest setnet gear in Kenai, Alaska, on Tuesday, July 25, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Draft plan published for disbursement of $11.5 million in 2021 and 2022 ESSN disasters

Public comment will be accepted for the draft spend plan until July 24

The Kasilof River is seen from the Kasilof River Recreation Area, July 30, 2019, in Kasilof, Alaska. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
King salmon fishing closed on Kasilof starting Monday

The emergency order is being issued to protect returning king salmon, citing weak returns

Soldotna City Hall is seen on Wednesday, June 23, 2021, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna’s city council appropriates funds for FY 2025 capital projects

Improvements are described for streets, police facility, Soldotna Creek Park and Soldotna Community Memorial Park

Gina Plank processes sockeye salmon caught on the first day of Kenai River dipnetting with her table set up on the bank of the Kenai River in Kenai, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 10, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai River open for dipnetting

As of Tuesday, a total of 226,000 sockeye had been counted in the Kenai River’s late run

Assembly Vice President Tyson Cox speaks during a meeting of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly in Soldotna, Alaska, on Tuesday, June 18, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Assembly won’t pursue further discussion on tabled bed tax resolution

Members say they’re going to work on a new version of the idea this winter

Gov. Mike Dunleavy pictured with members of the House majority after signing the fiscal year 2025 budget bills, Thursday, June 27, 2024, in Anchorage, Alaska. From left to right: Reps. Stanley Wright, Tom McKay, Thomas Baker, Craig Johnson, Kevin McCabe, Julie Coulombe and Laddie Shaw. (Photo provided by Office of the Governor)
Dunleavy signs capital budget with $3.7M in state funding for Kenai Peninsula, vetoes $3.3M

Roughly $90 million in federal funding also allocated to Kenai Peninsula

Alaska State Troopers logo.
Soldotna man arrested Friday after 30-minute police chase

The man had an outstanding warrant for felony probation violation

Most Read