Black bears prompt Rotary Park closing

Soldotna’s 52-acre Rotary Park located along Funny River Road is temporarily closed due to black bear activity.

Soldotna Parks and Recreation Director Andrew Carmichael said a mother bear and three cubs were spotted Wednesday afternoon and that calls starting coming in to the city about their presence late that day. The park was closed by 5 p.m., he said.

“Protect the people, protect the bears,” Carmichael said of the decision.

The fact that it’s a mother bear with cubs heightens the possibility of danger, he said.

The three cubs climbed up a tree and there was enough foot traffic by those using the park to keep them up there, Carmichael said. About 10-15 people had to vacate the park when it closed, he said.

Members of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game were scheduled to head back out to Rotary Park along with city staff members Thursday to reassess the situation. If the bears are still there, the park will remain closed. If they’ve left, it will reopen.

Carmichael said the city will make a decision based on Fish and Game’s recommendation. He anticipated Rotary Park would be reopened soon.

It’s not often that a Soldotna park has to close due to bear activity.

Carmichael said he can think of only one other time it’s happened since he started at his job in 2000.

“This is the first time we’ve closed during July,” he said.

Soldotna Creek Park was closed down for about a week when evidence of bears was found near its playground shortly after it was built, Carmichael said.

“It’s Alaska,” he said. “It happens periodically.”

There are currently posters up in Soldotna Creek Park advising visitor about a black bear sighting near the park on July 3, though the park is not closed.

Reach Megan Pacer at megan.pacer@peninsulaclarion.com.

More in News

Lydia Jacoby of the United States, sees the results after winning the final of the women’s 100-meter breaststroke at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Tuesday, July 27, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo / Martin Meissner)
Seward buzzing over Jacoby’s victory

SEWARD — An Olympic buzz permeates an Alaska coastal community thousands of… Continue reading

FILE - A sign advises shoppers to wear masks outside of a store Monday, July 19, 2021, in the Fairfax district of Los Angeles. Infections are climbing across the U.S. and mask mandates and other COVID-19 prevention measures are making a comeback in some places as health officials issue increasingly dire warnings about the highly contagious delta variant. But in a possible sign that the warnings are getting through to more Americans, vaccination rates are creeping up again, offering hope that the nation could yet break free of the coronavirus if people who have been reluctant to receive the shot are finally inoculated. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
CDC changes course on indoor masks in some parts of the US

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed course Tuesday on some… Continue reading

Alaska State Troopers and local law enforcement agencies in Ketchikan arrested a woman on Friday, Feb. 5, 2021 in possession of more than a quarter of a million dollars worth of drugs at the Ketchikan International Airport. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Semi-truck crash marks fourth major car accident in 10 days

There was another vehicle accident on the Sterling Highway this morning, according… Continue reading

Resurrection Bay is seen from Seward, Alaska on Saturday, July 24, 2021. (Camille Botello / Peninsula Clarion)
Seward approves construction of animal shelter

The Seward City Council approved up to $1,930,500 for the construction of… Continue reading

Alaska Senate President Peter Micciche speaks to reporters after a Senate floor session on the opening day of the second special legislative session on Wednesday, June 23, 2021, in Juneau, Alaska. Gov. Mike Dunleavy called the special session to address the budget. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer)
Per diems add up for lawmakers

State lawmakers could make more than $85,000 in per diem payments and… Continue reading

Daniel Balserak and Luke Konson fish for salmon in Alaska. The pair has been traveling the country and catching every official state fish for the past 11 months. (Photo provided)
A gap year like no other

High school graduates defer college enrollment to fish in every state

Hikers look at the Harding Icefield in August 2015 in Kenai Fjords National Park, just outside of Seward, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Hiker rescued from Harding Icefield Trail

A hiker was airlifted off of the Harding Icefield Trail in Kenai… Continue reading

COVID-19 cases are rising and health officials say new variants are spurring the increase, even among the vaccinated. But health officials note the majority of hospitalizations and deaths are occurring in unvaccinated people. (Michael Lockett / Juneau Empire file)
COVID-19 surge continues

‘They’re getting sicker this time around’

Alaska State Troopers logo.
Weekend car accident leaves 1 dead

Alaska State Troopers reported another car accident fatality over the weekend, marking… Continue reading

Most Read