Shameless grab on Grizzly Man story


As a personal friend of Timothy Treadwell and contributor to his Alaska bear projects, I should like to respond to your recent book review by David Wallace of Mike Lapinski’s book, “Death in the Grizzly Maze.”

It isn’t difficult to understand the origins of Lapinski’s book because he is an unrepentant animal trapper and bear hunter. “Trapper Mike” has a few hunting publications as well as a video on how to bear bait, illegal in his home state of Montana, available on the Internet. Lapinski is at odds with Timothy’s mission, which was to protect bears, and nothing upsets hunters and trappers more than to anthropomorphize the animals they want to kill.

With the exception of one person, Lapinski wasn’t able to interview any of Tim’s close friends because they wouldn’t talk to him. He quotes from erroneous newspapers and magazines as if it was his own work. Lapinski’s endless portrayal of the mauling is off base as evidenced by the coroner’s report, which transcribes the final audiotape.

As for what caused Tim’s death, it wasn’t his lack of bear skills; the bear that killed him was a study animal of biologists. Tim didn’t know this bear but he knew it was dangerous. He didn’t know it was a study bear because the ear tags had fallen out. If he had known it was a study bear that knew humans, he would have taken the necessary precautions.

Yes, Tim did protect his bears from poachers and he did spend 90 percent of his time alone with the bears. There is poaching in Katmai National Park because that’s where the best trophy animals are in fact located. Alaskan professional poaching is a sophisticated business involving millions of dollars, crafty guides and probably the best bush pilots in the world.

Lapinski comes across like a few other writers who desperately and shamelessly grab on Treadwell’s story for their own financial and career enhancement. Lapinski’s diatribe doesn’t qualify as a verifiable, biographical book. Timothy Treadwell’s story will be told and his passion, his life, his friendships, the bears he loved, and the nature of his death will be put in perspective.

Unless you like books written on conjecture, speculation, and horrendous bias, then save your money and avoid Lapinski’s publication.

Marc Gaede