A new den space and additional habitat for the bears, is officially in the construction phase. We have been working on this project for five years and we continue to reach important milestones each year. In late 2019 we completed construction of the foundation and structural walls enclosing the den space itself. Work continued through 2020. We added exterior concrete to support landscaping and cleared additional land for the new habitat. We plan to see continued progress throughout 2021.
The new den space will provide the bears at the Center with the best facilities we can build them, giving animal keepers even more options for both care in the den spaces and enrichment in the habitat. It will also eventually increase our capacity, with the remodeling of the old den space, to potentially allow the Center to take in more bears. Ultimately, we hope that it will provide even more exciting and dynamic opportunities for visitors to observe the bears engaging in natural behaviors, that will help them better understand the importance and value of their wild counterparts.
We are still in need of monetary support to complete this ambitious and much-needed project. We hope you will consider donating to this great cause.
After 28 years of wear and tear, the Center Staff is moving forward at a furious pace to replace the wooden bear-viewing structure. A favorite vantage point for visitors over the years, the elevated walkway has allowed enhanced views of the bear habitat, especially the pond. Although popular, the span did have its drawbacks. Many of our guests wanted to be higher; others complained that it got too crowded and cramped. Another drawback was a lack of protection from the rain and snow. After careful consideration and planning from the Projects, Facilities, Education and Animal Departments, the staff put together a plan that may come to fruition as soon as this early summer! When completed, the new elevated bear-viewing area will not only be three feet higher than the old structure, but also twice as wide and have a roof. Additionally, the new addition will be constructed with steel and concrete to hold up to the harsh weather conditions experienced during West Yellowstone winters.
We anticipate that the new viewing experience will be captivating for everyone. Visitors will finally get a great look at the bears in the pond as they play and look for food. To watch male grizzly Grant actually swim underwater across the length of the pond attempting to catch live trout is truly amazing. Watching the bears attempt to break into coolers and garbage cans as part of our Bear-resistant Container Testing Program will be easier with the higher vantage point. Photographers will have better angles to get that special shot, and the new structure won’t even shake when someone walks by. We guarantee that you’re going to love it.