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Soldotna Chamber calling all bear hunters (no, not real bears)

Soldotna Chamber of Commerce

The Soldotna Chamber of Commerce is encouraging families to go on a bear hunt.

“Not real, furry, live bears, no,” said Sarah Hondel, tourism and education director at the chamber.

It’s a scavenger hunt for stuffed bears or pictures of bears, not actual, live bears. Similar bear scavenger hunts are happening in communities nationwide.

“For the idea of kids that are at home during the pandemic, they can have a chance to go out with their families from a safe distance, i.e., in their car for family car rides, to try to find on a scavenger hunt where all of these bears are hiding in their own communities,” Hondel said.

Businesses, organizations or homeowners can sign up with the chamber and hide a bear in a window, on their porch or somewhere on their property that faces a public street. The chamber adds the location to its list. If it’s a business, a specific location is given. If it’s a home, just a street is given, for privacy purposes.

Anyone wanting to go hunting can get the location list from the chamber, then go for a drive or a walk to see how many bears they spot.

Hondel said families need to be mindful of private property and COVID-19 mandates. Don’t go driving to Anchorage looking for bears. And if taking a walk, be sure to stay at least 6 feet away from other people.

 “You need to practice the common sense with the new mandates. But, yeah, people could get out of their cars. It’s so sunny out right now. I feel like this is a great time for people who have been at home to go out and enjoy what spring is bringing us,” Hondel said.

You can print a poster from the chamber website to display in your car window when you’re out hunting, so no one gets concerned about why you might be driving slowly through a neighborhood. There are also educational and craft activities for kids. Make a bear puppet or read Michael Rosen’s book, “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.” Hondel will add a couple of new activities each week.

So far, 60 locations have hidden bears in Kenai, Soldotna and K-Beach.

“Even though it’s called the Greater Soldotna Bear Hunt, greater Soldotna is actually a 50-mile radius around Soldotna,” Hondel said. “So this bear hunt is inclusive of the following communities: Nikiski, Kenai, Soldotna, Kasilof, Sterling and we’re calling K-Beach a community just for the sake of helping people who are on the scavenger hunt.”

The Greater Soldotna Bear Hunt began Saturday and continues through May 1. Find out more by joining The Greater Soldotna Bear Hunt group on Facebook or go to the Greater Soldotna Bear Hunt page on the chamber's website.

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