Hours of Operation

Winter Hours
Oct. 1 - April 15
Friday to Sunday
10 am to 4 pm

Summer Hours
April 16 thru Sept.
7 days/week
9 am to 6 pm



A preeminent bear habitat...

The Mission

Through education and in deed we will provide protection,
care, and an enriching
environment for all animals entrusted in our guardianship.

Latest News:

November, 2010
Sitka's Fortress of the Bears protects orphaned cubs

" Just down the road from downtown Sitka is the Fortress of the Bear -- an unusual place that's become the home to some of the state's most vulnerable youngsters. " VIDEO

May 20, 2010:
New addition to the FOTB.

black bear cub

We don't know how long he will stay, but he is a 5 pound black bear rescued from Excursion Inlet.   He is residing in Les's vest for the time being.

We will keep you up dated. He has won our hearts.

July 17, 2009:
Sitka man creates an unlikely orphanage

by Megan Baldino.
See the online KTUU Story and video.

June 15, 2009: A pair of orphaned brown bear cubs captured two years ago has settled into their new home at an exhibit in Sitka called “Fortress of the Bear.” more...

July 31, 2008: It’s been a year since Fortress of the Bear invited two orphaned bear cubs into the enormous cement tank it has adapted into a wildlife exhibit.

bear logo

Fortress Of The Bear
(a non-profit organization)
Les Kinnear
Executive Director
4639 Sawmill Crk. Rd.
Sitka, Alaska 99835

Job Application

Fortress of the Bear...

...a 501 (c)3 non-profit education and rescue center with an exquisite three-quarter acre habitat for orphaned Brown Bear cubs complete with covered viewing areas. Also home to the Sawmiill Farm.

Sitka map

Map showing our location

Download the Video of the Bear cubs rescued in 2009 who are now at the Bronx Zoo in New York. (You need the free Adobe Flash Player on your computer for viewing this 5.07 MB video.)


Loss of our natural resource

The Brown bears of Southeast Alaska represent a distinct population, genetically dissimilar from any other bear. Research suggests these bears are remnants of a Polar bear population stranded in Southeast Alaska following the last ice age. They have adapted to the rain forest environment
and learned specific behaviors and marvelous survival skills. They successfully hunt everything from mountain goats to seals. Their ability to adapt sometimes brings them into conflict with their upright urban neighbors. The means to deal with these bears has been limited or non-existent. Our goal is to seek a solution that is better than simply shooting them.


In order to accomplish this mission we have established a bear habitat. We are utilizing 2 abandoned Clarifier Tanks which are 14 and 17 feet high respectively and 3/4 of an acre each. Our habitat allows for public viewing and an educational experience.

Sitka is a city that welcomes over 400, 000 visitors per year. These guests have the opportunity to see bears in a naturalized setting and provide the community with a number of economic benefits.

Each year, Sitka and communities throughout the State struggle with a productive solution to handling bears that have become urbanized. The research opportunities provided by the organization will create a comprehensive location where state and federal agents can work collaboratively to provide an eff ective alternative to the destruction of these animals. In addition to assisting in the main issues, this project has the potential for significant economic impact in Sitka, and Southeast.

Fortress of the Bear

Once the Fortress is fully operational, the project will becomeself-sustaining, with continued
fundraising eff orts for special projects. It will provide more than six year-round professional
positions. During the summer, more than 10 wildlife interpreters will be employed to insure each
guest has a meaningful and memorable visit.

Fortress Of The Bear is the largest private recycler in Sitka, utilizing out-dated produce, dairy and bakery products from all the local markets. This allows the animals to be well fed with the waste then utilized in the compost. This saves the city and private businesses more than $10,000 yearly in waste disposal.


This project will require time, money and wisdom. The beneficiaries are numerous; Wildlife, Alaska, Sitka, Students, Visitors & Scientific Research. We invite your support. We welcome any
contributions, comments, suggestions or community partnership interests. Thank you!

second clarifying tank

Visiting Fortress of the Bear

Fortress of the Bear offers a shuttle from the dock to the site. The fee is $3 and is available on cruise ship days only.

Additionally, you may contact one of the tour companies, taxis or car rentals.  We are about 5 miles from the dock.


Sitka Tours (907) 747-5800
Sitka Wildlife Tours

Taxi Companies:

Hank's Cabs (907) 747-8888
Nina's Taxi (907) 738-1931

Car Rentals:

North Star Car Rental