SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Professor in serious condition following bear mauling near Haines


April 20, 2016
Wednesday PM

(SitNews) Haines, Alaska - University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) Assistant Professor Forest Wagner was mauled by a bear with cubs Monday during a field mountaineering course near Haines.  Wagner was reported in stable condition Monday and was transported to Providence Hospital in Anchorage. On Tuesday, April 19th, Wagner’s condition was updated to serious by Providence Hospital. None of the students were injured.

Pictured is an ABC Brown Bear (this is not the bear involved in the mauling) Haines is included in Alaska's Admiralty, Baranof, and Chicagof Islands -- known as the ABC Islands.
DNA Study Clarifies How Polar Bears & Brown Bears Are Related
Photo courtesy USFWS

Alaska State Troopers were notified of the bear mauling by the Haines Police Department on Mount Emmerich near Kicking Horse River. Troopers responded to the location of the mauling with Temsco Helicopters.

Wagner was leading a University of Alaska Southeast group of 9 students and 2 teaching assistants in a mountaineering course when Wagner, 35 of Fairbanks, was mauled.

A student hiked down the mountain to get cell reception and called for help.

Wagner was removed from the mountain by helicopter and transported by a LifeMed helicopter before being taken to a hospital in Anchorage.

The university arranged for all its students to be transported off the mountain as the bear was sighted again after the mauling. Haines is home to both black and brown bears. The bear involved in the incident was a brown bear.

Haines is located 92 miles north of Juneau and is accessible only via air or sea as there no road system linking cities in Southeast Alaska. The group was traversing an area between Mt. Emmerich and the Chilkat River when Wagner was attacked by a bear with cubs.

Chancellor Rick Caulfield said “I commend the students for their quick action in responding to this situation and appreciate the prompt response from Alaska State Troopers, Haines Police, Temsco Helicopters, and medical staff in Haines and in Juneau. Our thoughts are with faculty member Forest Wagner as he recovers from this incident, and we are thankful that all involved are safe.”

The University of Alaska Southeast Juneau will work to provide support as needed to the students involved.

Alaska State Troopers and university officials coordinated with Temsco Helicopters to evacuate students from the area. UAS Professor Kevin Krein remained in Haines with the students Mpnday and they return to Juneau on Tuesday, April 19 via ferry as previously planned.

Just days before the bear mauling in Southeast Alaska, the Alaska State Troopers received a report of a Grizzly bear attack which occurred near mile 68 of the Denali Highway in the Fairbanks area on April 15, 2016.

The victim of that bear mauling was identified as Glenn Bohn, 77 of Wasilla, who was bear hunting at the time of the attack. The bear was killed by a hunting partner on the scene.

Bohn was driven to the Denali Highway by snowmachine where he was flown by LifeMed to Anchorage. On 04/16/2016, friends of the victim, ADF&G and Wildlife Troopers traveled to the location of the attack. The bear, confirmed to be a Grizzly, was harvested and removed from the field.

According to information on the Alaska Department of Fish & Games's website, the term “brown bear” commonly refers to animals found in coastal areas, and brown bears found inland and in northern habitats are often called “grizzlies.


On the Web:

Safety in Alaska's Bear Country



Edited by Mary Kauffman, SitNews


Source of News:

University of Alaska Southeast

Alaska Department of Public Safety

Alaska Department of Fish & Game


Representations of fact and opinions in comments posted below are solely those of the individual posters and do not represent the opinions of Sitnews.


Publish A Letter in SitNews

Contact the Editor

SitNews ©2016
Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska

 Articles & photographs that appear in SitNews may be protected by copyright and may not be reprinted without written permission from and payment of any required fees to the proper sources.

E-mail your news & photos to

Photographers choosing to submit photographs for publication to SitNews are in doing so granting their permission for publication and for archiving. SitNews does not sell photographs. All requests for purchasing a photograph will be emailed to the photographer.