“See McNeil River Bears” is an archived article posted on the Alaska Fish & Wildlife website in their February 2008 edition.

To wit:

The following access permits are available to visit the sanctuary:

Guiding Viewing Access Permits: Formerly known as “Regular” permits, these are drawn in a lottery in which all applicants have an equal opportunity of being selected. Applicants may select a first and second choice for the four-day time block to visit the McNeil River Sanctuary during the period of June 7-Aug. 25. A total of 185 individual permits, each valid for a four-day period, are available through this lottery. Applications must be submitted by March 1.

Camp-Standby Viewing Access Permits: Formerly known as “Standby” permits, these are drawn in the same lottery as the Guided Viewing Access Permits. Visitors holding Camp-Standby Viewing Access Permits are allowed to stay in the sanctuary campground, visit the beach seaward of the campground, and view bears in the campground/beach area. These permit holders are eligible to fill vacancies that occur when visitors holding Guided Viewing Access Permits fail to use their permit(s). A total of 57 Camp-Standby Viewing Access Permits, each valid for a four-day period, are issued each year.

Biologist Joe Meehan is the lands and refuges program coordinator. He said 97 percent of the people on standby get to spend at least one day out at the bear viewing site. “The vast majority go for two or more days,” Meehan said. “There’s often very good viewing around camp, or on the beach. Or out on the McNeil Lagoon Spit.”

Sarah’s Facebook plug didn’t exactly ‘plug’ the program, however, as she could have easily promoted the McNeil River bear viewing project by adding the article’s last two paragraphs:

Application must be made by March 1 online. Mailed applications must be at the Alaska Department of Fish & Game by March 1. Application forms are available on line at http://www.wildlife.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=mcneil_river.mainor by calling 907-267-2182.

There is a non-refundable application of $25 per person. Applications are entered into a lottery. If drawn, by May 1 residents must pay a $150 viewing fee and non-residents pay $350

H/T to walkaboutstory for the wildlife.alaska.gov link which led to the above archive and the McNeil River State Game Sanctuary link, promoted by ADF&G Division of Wildlife conservation – which reads (not-so-surprisingly) just like the Facebook post:

To wit:

The largest known gathering of brown bears in the world happens at McNeil River. Visitors get an unparalleled opportunity to watch the bears mating, fighting, playing, and feeding. In early July, chum salmon return to the river to spawn. A series of cascading rapids and pools slows the migration of the salmon and makes them easy prey for hungry bears.

and…

McNeil River is the world’s best wildlife viewing site for the magnificent Alaska brown bear. Usually solitary animals, as many as three dozen bruins may be seen at the river’s falls dining on chum salmon

Alaska commenters from yesterday’s post add some unique observations regarding their ex-half-gov and how it’s entirely possible her bear-watching claim is true. However, rather than walking away feeling satisfied that Sarah actually took one of these ‘day trips’ to McNeil’s River, I found myself simply rewording my original questions… Where are the photos of Sarah observng the bears? Where are the photos Sarah would have taken of the bears she observed? Where’s the printed story of this adventure?

If Sarah Palin took one of these day-trips to McNeil River in the month of June, while she was still governor, where’s the activity listed on her oh-so-busy governor’s schedule? What’s the likelihood she didn’t sieze this opportunity to tout herself as a concerned conservationist to the environmental voters?

This would have been a no-brainer photo-op showing she was such a great governor that she took time out of her busy governorshipness to show the biologists how to properly observe bears.

Where’s the story?

If she took the trip in July or August, after her marathon week-long quitathon, where’s the ‘I spotted Sarah’ story telling all of us how (even though she quit her job) she’s still concerned enough about Alaska that she’s gone off to observe the bears yadda yadda… I mean really, isn’t it logical that the  people she would have encountered on such a trip have had, oh I don’t know… cameras?

I’m just saying… prior to quitting, Sarah was all over the news cycles shilling herself as the greatest governor Alaska ever had and this story is nowhere to be found.

After she quit, people in all 50 states were  on a 24/7  Sarah-Watch trying to figure out where she was and what she was doing. She didn’t emerge from hiding until just before her book release, part of which (coincidentally?) overlaps with the Alaska Brown Bear viewing season. I find it extremely hard to digest the idea that NO ONE thought to snap a candid shot of her at the campground. Especially when the price of a candid shot of the ex-half-gov would have so nicely lined the pockets of another bear watcher or underpaid biologist.

I’ll believe this fairy tale when one of the biologists comes forward with his or her photo-essay of the day he or she escorted his or her ex-half-gov around the bear habitat.

Until then, I think her FB hack should stop signing Sarah’s name to the bottom of her posts and start signing it honestly:

The Googling-Ghost springs to mind.

To comment on this post, please scroll up to the title “The Bear Truth (cont.)” and click on the word comments just beneath. Thanks, OzMud

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