National Park

3 men accused of getting too close to bears in Katmai National Park in Alaska

US prosecutors have charged three men with leaving a special viewing platform and getting too close to famous salmon fishing bears in Katmai National Park and Preserve in Alaska.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office filed charges this week in the August 2018 incident. Spokeswoman Lisa Houghton said the office was not discussing the timeline of cases.

“Each case is unique and it takes varying amounts of time to lay criminal charges,” she said via email.

Southwest Alaska Park protects some of the highest bear densities in the world and requires visitors to adhere to special rules.

[The Katmai bear webcams are back for summer — with higher resolution and better sound]

Katmai’s mature male brown bears can weigh up to 900 pounds, depending on the park.

The charges allege the men entered a closed area of ​​the park by exiting a licensed viewing area and wading into the Brooks River as the bears fed on salmon in nearby falls.

The accused were David Engelman, 56, of Sandia Park, New Mexico, and Ronald J. Engelman II, 54, and Steven Thomas, 30, both of King Salmon. An online court records system did not show lawyers for men who could comment on their behalf.