“The first time Mike Fitz saw a bear in the wild, in 2007, he did what he was trained to do: He made a lot of noise.
“You can read and listen to all of the advice — it helps prepare you mentally, but at the same time I’m thinking, ‘Oh, that is a bear in front of me, looking at me,’” Mr. Fitz said. “What am I going to do now?”
This particular bear, on top of Dumpling Mountain in Katmai National Park in Alaska, however, was not exactly an imminent threat. The bear was about a quarter-mile away from Mr. Fitz, and his yells across the vast landscape barely made a dent. “I hadn’t figured out that making noise is appropriate in certain situations,” he said. “The bear probably heard me and thought, ‘What is this two-legged creature doing?’”
The encounter proved to be a formative moment for Mr. Fitz, and for millions of bear fans around the world. Mr. Fitz is the founder of Fat Bear Week, now in its ninth year. What began as a way for Mr. Fitz, a former park ranger, to engage with visitors to Katmai has “spiraled.” “