FAQ

Frequently asked questions

What should I bring on the Guided Expedition into the bush of Katmai National Park?


WE SUPPLY HIP BOOTS FOR OUR TRIP as we will be disembarking from our float plane into water and potentially crossing creeks throughout the day.

  • Day Pack
  • Lunch & Snacks – Nothing that crumbs easily and no fish products.
  • Water
  • Rain Gear – Bring a jacket and pants. Your raingear will not only come in handy during a shower, but acts as a windbreaker while keeping you dry as you walk in tall, wet grass and sit on the ground. Light coated nylon is best for Alaska. Unlike Gortex, it really is waterproof and is considerably less expensive.
  • Layer Clothing – Fleece is great in Alaska. It is light, warm, protects from wind, and dries quickly after getting wet. Click here to find more information about Katmai weather.
  • Two Pairs of Thick Socks – This ensures that your feet are warm and comfortable in the hip boots we provide.
  • Wear a belt or pants with a beltloop – Your hip boots strap will be secured on your belt/beltloop.
  • Binoculars
  • Camera/Memory Card – A 200mm lens will normally get you really close to the bears.
  • Insect Repellent – Not usually a problem, but be prepared. Other bug avoiding tips: don't wear cologne, use unscented fabric softener, and avoid wearing bright colors.
  • Medications – Bring enough for two days of anything you need on a regular basis. It has never happened in Emerald Air Services' history, but any time you are in the Alaskan bush, weather could cause an overnight delay.
  • Sunscreen – Hopefully we'll need it!
  • No Smoking or Vaping at ANY time – Please bring nicotine patches or gum if you anticipate discomfort.
BEAR SPRAY AND FIREARMS ARE NOT PERMITTED.




What should I bring to the Self-Guided Tour of Brooks Falls?


  • Day Pack
  • Lunch & Snacks – No fish products, please. The Visitor's Center will have a food locker for you to store your food.
  • Water
  • Rain Gear – Your raingear will not only come in handy during a shower, but acts as a windbreaker. You can get out of the weather by going to the Vistor's Center or you can watch the bears enjoy the rain.
  • Layer Clothing – Fleece is great in Alaska. It is light, warm, protects from wind, and dries quickly after getting wet. Click here to learn more about Katmai weather.
  • Comfortable Walking Shoes – You will be on maintained paths and will not have to cross any creeks.
  • Binoculars – The bears will likely be close, but binoculars can enhance your bear viewing experience.
  • Camera/Memory Card – Brooks Falls is a renowned photography location. Take advantage of it! A 200mm lens will normally get you really close to the bears.
  • Insect Repellent – Not usually a problem, but be prepared. Other bug avoiding tips: don't wear cologne, use unscented fabric softener, and avoid wearing bright colors.
  • Sunscreen – Hopefully you will need it!
  • No Smoking or Vaping at ANY time – Please bring nicotine patches or gum if you anticipate discomfort.
BEAR SPRAY AND FIREARMS ARE NOT PERMITTED.




Does Emerald Air Service charter their float plane?


While we are not principally a charter, it is something that we would be happy to do depending on our availability. Just give our office a call and we will see what we can do for you.




Does Emerald Air Service guarantee bears on bear viewing trips?


Emerald Air Service does not guarantee bears. With many years of experience, we know the bears' habits, predict and keep track of their movements, and can give our guests a great day of bear viewing. However, it is against our philosophy of bear viewing to guarantee bears because they are wild animals.




What are good resources for me to learn more about bears and their habitat?


Concerning the Alaska Coastal Brown Bear:

Concerning the Habitiat:
  • Katmai National Park and Preserve
  • Field Guide to Alaskan Wildflowers by Verna E. Pratt
  • Alaska's Wild Plants: A Guide to Alaska's Edible Harvest by Janice J. Schofield
  • Alaska's Wilderness Medicines: Healthful Plants of the Far North by Eleanor G. Viereck
  • Alaska Trees and Shrubs by Leslie A. Viereck and Elbert L. Little, JR.




What is the best time for me to go bear viewing?


This entirely depends on what you want to see. In the early summer, bears just coming out from hibernation are gathering in the meadows. There is a lot of bear-bear interaction and socialization. In mid summer, fishing is what is on the bears minds. They become very focused on the sole task of catching and eating as much fish as possible. By late summer, the bears are at their very prettiest, fat and sleek for a long winter of hibernation. The tundra is turning from green to varried shades of autumn. For more about when and what the bears are doing, visit here.




Are there bathrooms out there?


While out on the field for 5 hours, human necessities dictate a bathroom need might arise. Worry not, we come prepared! Our guides carry zip lock bags with toilet paper and specially designed bags in case of #2. We practice "leave no trace" which means what comes with must come back out. Our guides are courteous to bring these, however they will be your responsibility to carry and bring back to Homer.




Can the weather cancel my flight?


Alaska is a fierce place with even fiercer weather. We operate VFR (Visual Flight Rules) so we must follow certain parameters to be able to fly. Winds and visibility are inspected every morning to determine the safety of our trips and weather calls are made the morning of the trips unless a big storm has been predicted, in which we try to contact you to give you plenty of time to make other activity plans. We may delay our departure if we believe conditions may improve. If our pilots call off the trip and we are not able to fly, we will try to reschedule your seats or we will refund 100%.