In order to safely observe bears in the Fishing Branch River, one must sit quietly, every day, in the same spot, and wait for the bears to approach in their own terms. This big male wanted to fish right next to us and it was cute to watch him peek over the reeds to make sure he was safe to be so close to us. In this bear haven near the Arctic Circle, grizzlies roam free and safe from hunters. Ni’iinlii Njik Territorial Park, a 2,500-square-mile ecological reserve, is a sacred place for the Vuntut Gwitchin indigenous community. For years, their leaders worked closely with the Yukon government, establishing this reserve in 1999. Known as “the place where salmon spawn”, this protected habitat is home to grey wolves, lynx, wolverine, caribou, bald eagles, and moose, as well as a significant population of grizzly bears. We spent hours watching bears like this explore the river, more interested in a fresh salmon dinner than us and our cameras.