contact us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

You can edit the text in this area, and change where the contact form on the right submits to, by entering edit mode using the modes on the bottom right.

4639 Sawmill Creek Road
Sitka, Alaska 99835

907 747-3032

Fortress Of The Bear an educational bear rescue center located in Sitka, Alaska. We bring orphaned bears from all over the state of Alaska and find homes for them in zoos and sanctuaries internationally.  We currently have 8 resident orphaned bears in 3 separate enclosures.  These enclosures mimic the natural settings that they would normally be found.  Visitors view from above in a covered area and have the opportunity to observe and photographic their continuous antics.

Our Team



Les Kinnear
Co-Founder & Director






Evy Kinnear
Co-Founder & Administrator







Claire Turner
Bear Manager & Specialist

Claire initially found Fortress of the Bear online, while looking for places to conduct bear intelligence research for her university dissertation. She was studying Animal Behaviour at the University of Exeter in England, and traveled to Sitka to work with Balloo in 2012. She fell in love with the project fast, and has been with Fortress of the Bear ever since as their resident Bear Manager and Specialist, working patiently towards a green card to become a US resident. To many people in Sitka, Claire is known by her roller derby alias, Grizz – short for Grizzly Madams! In 2017, she started skating with the local league, the Sitka Sounds Slayers. She is currently the Captain of the league’s B Team, the SheeDevils!


Chris Turner
Operations Manager

Chris followed Claire to Alaska for the summer in 2012, to assist with her bear research, and also fell in love with Fortress of the Bear. The British couple got engaged in Sitka, and have been with the project ever since. Once a personal trainer, Chris dove headfirst into the animal care field, but found a passion for public speaking and education. Now our Operations Manager, Chris spends the majority of his work day talking to visitors, teaching them all about bears and Fortress of the Bear’s mission. In his spare time, he founded Sitka’s first ever rugby team, the Sitka Sockeyes! As Captain, he motivates, inspires and coaches his team!




Debi Terry

"I began volunteering at Fortress of the Bear in the Spring of 2009 right after moving to Sitka. My favorite bear is Lucky. He is laid back, can easily entertain himself for hours and loves spending time in the water. He also overcame a very serious injury as a young bear and is thriving now. I have had various responsibilities since I began volunteering from cleaning to helping with food prep and enrichment. My favorite things to do are picking wild foods for the bears and telling guests about these remarkable creatures. The most memorable moment I have had was just looking into the eyes of one of the bears and feeling that he was engaged in looking back at me. I hope I can volunteer another 10 years!"

Here's Debi, who also runs a local tour company, Specialized Tours of Sitka.


Kathy Ingallinera

"I started volunteering on Sundays in the summer of 2015. Killisnoo is my favorite bear because he is the "Underdog" and I like to root for him and encourage him, especially when he stands up for himself. He is sweet and just goes about his bear business, which I like. I help in the gift shop, with food prep, cleaning, recycling and telling the visitors about the bears."

Here's Kathy, pictured with her lovely rescue malamute, Bristol! 

Board of Directors

Tonia Puletau-Lang

SR Thorwood

Phil Mooney
Hunter McIntosh
Bev Caldwell
Carol Odess