Proposed increase would raise Anan fee to $50 by 2027

Visitors to the Anan Wildlife Observatory could pay much more than the current daily $10 permit fee if a proposed increase is approved later this year.

The U.S. Forest Service recently proposed boosting the fee to $50 per person, per day. If enacted, the full amount would be phased in over the next four years, with the additional revenues helping to pay for work at the popular bear viewing site.

According to Erica Keene, media relations specialist for the Forest Service in Alaska, Anan has not had a fee increase since 2004.

“The revenue from the fee program allows us to better meet public expectations for high-quality recreation opportunities and maintenance of recreation sites,” Keene said in an email. “Every year, fees provide the funding to complete additional projects that we would otherwise be unable to fund, including maintenance and improvement of facilities and trails.”

The Anan Wildlife Observatory, 30 miles south of Wrangell, received a new upper viewing platform in June of 2022 at a cost of nearly $1 million.

Throughout the viewing season, which runs from the beginning of July until the end of August, the observatory gets more than 3,000 visitors through guided and unguided tours. It is limited to 60 daily visitors on guided tours, with a dozen daily slots set aside for unguided visitors who get there on their own.

Keene said the proposed fee increase is based on market analysis of similar recreation opportunities within Alaska.

If adopted, the daily fee would increase by $10 each year, starting next summer until reaching the $50 amount in 2027. The public would be informed no less than six months before the first increase.

Public comments on the proposal are due by Sept. 30. Comments can be mailed to:

Tongass National Forest, Ketchikan SO

Attn: John Suomala, Recreation and Wilderness Program Manager

648 Mission St., Suite 110

Ketchikan, AK 99901-6591

Comments can also be emailed to, submitted online at, made in-person at any Forest Service field office in Southeast from Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., or by calling 907-228-6215.

Keene said the Forest Service is hopeful that if the increase is approved, “the phased-fee increase will minimize the immediate impact to visitors.”


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