Dedication Of Bronze Bear Statue At Denali National Park On Friday

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This statue of a bronze brown bear will be dedicated Friday at the Denali Visitor Center Campus.

A public unveiling of a bronze brown bear will be held Friday at the Denali Visitor Center Campus in Denali National Park and Preserve.

The statue of a resting bear was created by long-time Denali artist William D. Berry. Its dedication is set for 4:30 p.m.

The scupltor, who grew up in California, moved to Denali in the early 1950s when his wife, Elizabeth, landed a job with Camp Denali in the heart of the national park. Down through the years Mr. Berry has captured Denali’s wildlife on canvas and in sculpture from the family's home on the shores of Deneki Lake. This setting inspired Deneki: An Alaskan Moose, a children’s book loved by generations of Alaskans.

Among the artist's other works are several small sculptures of the park’s many iconic species, including moose, wolverine, and a female brown bear in a resting pose.

A life-size enlargement of the resting bear to be unveiled Friday was commissioned for installation at the Denali Visitors Center as part of a year-long celebration of Arts in Denali National Park.

Wally Cole, a long-time friend of the Berrys, has overseen the development of the statue from idea to installation. The 8-foot bronze is composed of 31 different castings, welded together by Juneau sculptor Skip Wallen. The statute is envisioned to be child-friendly as a place to sit and climb...and used by rangers during talks about being safe in bear country.

The casting and installation of the new statue was made possible by a generous gift of Elizabeth Berry to the Denali Institute (now Alaska Geographic) to support the Arts in Denali.

Alaska Geographic is proud to be the official nonprofit education partner of Alaska’s parks, forests, refuges, and other public lands. With more than 50 years experience connecting people to Alaska’s wild places, Alaska Geographic is a bookstore, publisher, educator, and supporter of Alaska’s spectacular wildlands.

Comments

Is there actually any difference between a brown bear and a grizzly? Or do they just call grizzlies brown bears in Alaska? They look alike to me.

Steve Hicks

Appears reminiscent of a boar carcass immediately after being blasted by a Alaska State Trooper at the behest of the park Superintendent.

Or is it just me?

Steve,

The brown bear (Ursus Arctos) is a species of bear that ranges throughout the world's northern climes. In North America there are only two subspecies still present: North American Brown Bear, or Grizzly (Ursus Arctos Horriblis) and the Kodiak Brown Bear (Ursus Arctos Middendorffi.) There's some controversy about even distinguishing between those two subspecies, but back to the point - with the exception of the Kodiak Bear, they are all brown bears, or grizzlies - same thing. In my experience inland bears in Alaska are more likely to be referred to as grizzlies while coastal areas will find them referred to as brown bears. Often brown bears near coastal areas will be larger due to their richer protein and calorie diets but they are still genetically the same as their bretheren in the mountains.

I would hope they sell miniatures of the sculpture in the bookstore/online. It's a great sculpture.