Rededicating the Madsen bear

A celebrant takes a photo of the Madsen bear statue at a rededication ceremony for the bear, Saturday at the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center. (Louis Garcia photo)

The Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center hosted a dedication for the Madsen bear statue with Roy Madsen on Saturday afternoon.

“We are honored by your presence here today to help us rededicate the bear statue as a lasting memorial, not only to the man for whom it was intended, Charles Madsen, but also to his son Alf Madsen, who took it upon himself to have it sculpted and presented to our city,” Madsen said during a speech in front of the life-sized bear statue in front of the visitor center.

The statue stood near the gazebo opposite Oscar’s Dock for many years before being moved to the new site.

“We now rededicate it not only to their memory, but to all of those who have been and now are involved in bear guiding, bear viewing, and those who work to preserve those great animals in their habitat,” he said. “This memorial stands in recognition of their life’s work.”

Madsen then told stories about what it was like growing up around bear hunting and trapping years ago — a rough and rugged account.

“I was appointed the head man, which meant that when a bear was killed, the head was brought into camp and I had the task of scraping up all the flesh, including the eyes, the gums, the tongue and the brains,” Madsen said. “This was a laborious labor that not only took hours but days.”

After Madsen shared stories about his youth and family’s bear-hunting legacy, local author and bear guide Harry Dodge spoke about the Kodiak Brown Bear Trust.

The trust, established in 1981, is made up of four trustees: the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Kodiak Electric Association, the conservation industry, and the state of Alaska.

The Kodiak Brown Bear Trust helps fund bear research in Kodiak.

“In light of the trouble of funding nowadays, the Kodiak brown Bear Trust is becoming more important in that regard to fill that void of funding as time goes on,” Dodge said.

The trust is in the midst of a rejuvenation with fresh workers, a website due to launch this summer, and posters soon to be posted around town, the state and the nation. So far this year about $65,000 has been raised for the trust.

Mirror writer Louis Garcia can be reached via email at lgarcia@kodiakdailymirror.com.

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