Personal tools
You are here: Home News Scat! Our blog Close encounter with a rare bear
Document Actions
  • Email this page
  • Print this
  • Bookmark and Share

Close encounter with a rare bear

Posted by ssmith at Jul 26, 2011 04:15 PM |

Creating history with bear bells and an iPhone: Joe Sebille recounts his historical grizzly bear sighting in the North Cascades.

Close encounter with a rare bear

Joe Sebille--the hiker who snapped the first photo of a grizzly in the North Cascades in decades--climbing sandstone rocks above the Pacific Ocean

Editors Note, 2014: Continued research in the area of the 2010 bear photos taken by a hiker in the North Cascades, including photo evidence of an usually large black bear in the immediate vicinity and no hair, scat, tracks or sign of grizzly bears found in the area, have led some bear experts to believe the animal in the photos was actually a large black bear.

It was Joe Sebille's final hike before winter. Soon, snow in the North Cascades would make the landscape too treacherous to navigate.

Joe hiked the same trail three days earlier and noticed 50 cars at the trailhead, but today he was completely alone. To protect himself, Joe carried a long wooden stick covered in bells. He knew he was in bear country.

"I was tense from the get go because I knew that I was going to see a bear, it was just a matter of which corner it was around," Joe said.

After hiking less than 10 miles from the trailhead, Sebille turned a corner and there it was-a bear! Joe shook his bells as hard as he could; the still air rattled with the same ferocity of his pounding heartbeat. He had never been this close to a wild bear!

Sebille was accustomed to sighting bears at a distance of more than 200 yards. This one was less than 75 yards away, and little did he know: it was a grizzly bear.

Joe didn't recognize the bear as a grizzly. He didn't know that the encounter was any more special than an adrenaline rush and photo opportunity.

"I took the pictures because the bear was so close," Sebille said. "The moment itself will stick out in my mind for the rest of my life, like 1080 HD memory format, it's one moment that won't go away."

Several months later, Joe shared his story and photographs with a park ranger who urged him to show the photographs to bear experts. Before long, Joe’s photographs constituted the first confirmed grizzly sighting in Washington in 15 years.

Sebille says he hopes his sighting will increase funding for North Cascades wilderness protection. He wants the North Cascades to remain pristine.

"I want people to be like a shadow in the wilderness," Sebille said. "Folks who know about the North Cascades know that it should be untouched and respected, even without a grizzly sighting, the North Cascades should remain untouched forever."

Please help Joe and us support a future for North Cascades grizzly bears by taking action online today.

Joe Sebille grizz bear sighting

Document Actions

Grizzly photos

Posted by Penny Butler at Jul 26, 2011 10:10 PM
Thank you for sharing your awesome photos Joe! Wish I could have been in your shoes...........er I mean hiking boots that day!

Thanks

Posted by Joe Sebille at Aug 01, 2011 02:44 PM
My pleasure, keep those eyes to the hills!

powered by Plone | site by Groundwire Consulting and served with clean energy