Stranded hiker rescued thanks to bear webcam viewers

The hiker was caught in bad weather in a remote national park and needed help. (CNN, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, EXPLORE.ORG, KHNL, KGMB)
Published: Sep. 11, 2023 at 11:42 PM AKDT
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KATMAI NATIONAL PARK, Alaska (CNN) - A lone hiker in an Alaskan national park used a wildlife webcam to get help after he got caught in bad weather and needed rescue.

Viewers of an livestream were hoping to spot a bear in a remote area of Katmai National Park when they saw a man walk up to the camera, look into the lens and ask for help, according to a news release. He also gave a thumbs down sign.

The hiker was caught in bad weather on his trip last Tuesday. It was foggy and raining, and he looked cold.

Webcam viewers contacted moderators for the website, who alerted park rangers, according to the news release.

The park rangers sent out a search and rescue team, and they found the hiker a few hours later. He was brought back to safety.

The hiker was caught in bad weather in a remote national park and needed rescue. (@EXPLORE.ORG via CNN)

Mike Fitz, a resident naturalist for, helped with the hiker’s rescue. He was surprised – but thankful – people were still watching the webcam, given the bad weather.

“Webcam viewers were still watching it, to my surprise, actually, and they were paying attention, which was doubly surprising,” Fitz told USA Today. “You couldn’t see any of the landscape. It would be extremely unlikely animals would be visible because you couldn’t see very far.” did not release the hiker’s name but said “this is the first time our cameras have been used in a search and rescue operation.”

“The webcam viewers alert us to a lot of interesting bear behavior and wildlife behavior, but we have never had this situation before,” Fitz told USA Today. “There have been some amazing situations we’ve witnessed on them before … with wildlife for instance … but never a human, as far as I know.”

Katmai National Park is remote and cannot be accessed by car. The park’s headquarters is located about 290 miles southwest of Anchorage.