Coastal Katmai National Park has 497 miles including many fjords, bays and beaches are home to one of the highest densities of brown bears (grizzlies) on the planet. In early spring bears return annually to forage on sedges, dig clams, and pursue salmon returning to their native streams and river. Tides, thick vegetation and the terrain can make viewing difficult for novices.
There are two major factors of nature that control man’s safety when accessing this pristine wilderness area. The first is the weather which man can make predictions for but has no control over it.
The second factor is the tides and currents that are produced by tides. They are created by the moon’s gravitational pull orbiting the earth every 28 days plus the moon’s position in the sky in relation to the sun which controls the varying height of the tides.
Tides along the Katmai coast are diurnal, meaning there are two high and two low tides every 24 hours. Man has mastered accurate predictions for high and low tides with precision for many years in advance. Tide is one of nature’s most determinant factors for the close viewing of bears, wolves, and other wildlife along Coastal Katmai. The tidal flats and salt marsh areas go dry as the tides recede and give wildlife access to the open areas and shorelines where they can easily be seen.
Most of the areas above high water levels are covered with thick brush providing wildlife coverage except for a few bays that have open meadows behind the beach berm. Tidal fluctuations vary daily from 12 to 20 feet.
Coastal shore excursions must be planned around tides. Be sure to factor in that high and low tide march forward in time each day on our Gregorian calendar. The 28-day lunar calendar does not fit over the 365 Gregorian calendars.
Just as the tides change daily the amount of light for photography changes slowly each day. Daylight begins to diminish on solstice June 21, losing 0.02 minutes gradually losing up to 4.56 minutes per day in September. Even with this there still is 12 hours of daylight on the equinox September 21.
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