Wednesday, January 4, 2012

2012: The Year Ahead

Chaik eating deer scraps in the snow at Fortress of the Bear - November, 2011.

So 2012 has arrived, marking the two-year anniversary of this blog's creation and the twists and turns of the incredible journey that I unknowingly set myself on. The unlikeliness of everything that's happened the past two years has not escaped me and I'm still amazed by it all. If it doesn't show what can be accomplished through simple marketing, then I don't know what does. But now the time has come to look forward to the year ahead and the various possibilities that await there.

I've been corresponding with biologist Stephen Stringham, who is working on what I think will be the most important series of books on bears ever written, and who is one of the few biologists working today who sees the great value captive bears offer in our understanding of their wild cousins. He has proposed doing a study at Fortress of the Bear to supplement work he has done with wild bears and asked me to assist him in the project. Despite my interest in bears being mostly "unscientific", the prospects of this are a big deal for all involved. It will help bring more attention and prestige to the Fortress and having my name attached to an official research project and (possibly) published paper will be quite beneficial for me as well. The Fortress is interested in participating and Steve is doing the application work for the grant money.

Speaking of bringing more attention and prestige to the Fortress, Les and Evy Kinnear, owners of the facility, proposed getting me back and having me work on their marketing/educational/fundraising projects. These would include pamphlets, educational materials for schools and visitors, community fundraisers, etc. My head is already swirling with a million ideas and I've dug up contact info for big-name people who could be in a position to offer, or help procure, donations. This will likely depend upon available income during the tourist season this summer and would be something that would have to start small and gradually build itself up, so I'm trying not to let my ideas get too far ahead of me. I have put together a rough draft 2012 calendar of the Fortress but I'm waiting to get a printed copy before I decide if I'm happy with the results or not. Digital pictures to prints can be iffy.

In the midst of all this, I hope to be able to make a personal trip to Glacier National Park in August for the anniversary of the Night of the Grizzlies. It's up in the air if I can work that one in or not but I certainly want to try. There's nothing critical to be gained from it, aside from the opportunity to see a place that's had some kind of strange meaning to me for a very long time, but being there at that specific time feels like a spiritual matter and I need to resolve it.

I've also long toyed with the idea of adapting this blog into book form. I doubt it would be anything really major or involved but the market for bear books is high and it's a critical time, so I want to throw my voice into the mix in a bigger way. I've been on the verge of slapping something together the last couple of months but now I'm inclined to wait in case the research project and the trip to Glacier pan out. Both of those, especially the latter, would be valuable to the text.

As for the blog, I have some book reviews coming soon, as I've recently added to my bear book library, and I've been trying to give some direction and substance to a post of late-night ramblings and musings that I slapped together. Maybe that one will be coming soon.

All in all, 2012 could be an exciting year and may take things to a much higher level than before. As always, anything new and interesting will be posted here. Until then, have a safe and happy new year!


  1. Hi Chris. When I first encountered your blog I was cramming research for a presentation to the Ministry of the Environment. I was going so fast that I didn't realize that it was a blog and not a book review. It really helped with my presentation and led me to the diversionary feeding concept. Now that I understand a bit more about blogism, I'll be tuned in here often to see what's next.

  2. Allen, welcome aboard! I do have a few book reviews on here and there are one or two more that I'm thinking about doing, so hopefully I'll have some new material coming soon. Things should definitely be interesting this summer! Keep an eye on Facebook too, as I usually put links to new posts up there as well.