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Oswald’s Bear Ranch opens for the season

Tucked away in the woods of Newberry with 240 acres of land is Oswald’s Bear Ranch - home to 41 black bears who have just woken up from hibernation.
Updated: Jun. 6, 2021 at 6:54 PM EDT
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NEWBERRY, Mich. (WLUC) - A Luce County animal sanctuary has opened up for the season.

“Last year was our bumper year. People from lower Michigan said ‘hey, we got to get out of town’ so everybody came North,” said Owner and founder of Oswald’s Bear Ranch, Dean Oswald.

Tucked away in the woods of Newberry with 240 acres of land is Oswald’s Bear Ranch - home to 41 black bears who have just woken up from hibernation.

Already, Oswald said it’s been a busy opening week.

“We had a very good influx of people. We don’t have the people coming in from Europe like we did last year because of COVID-19 but we still have a big influx of our surrounding states and Michigan,” he said.

Oswald’s opened to the public in 1997, and right now, nearly 200 acres of natural habitat with trees and fresh running water is being used to house the bears.

Visitors can walk around the gated property to observe the bears, feed them apples, meet cubs, and learn more about the animals.

“We now have five habitats. One is better than a mile around – 6,000 feet. A couple of them are over 2,600 and 2,700 feet around, 1,300 feet and 900 feet,” Oswald said.

Oswald’s bears come from all over the U.S., including New York, Ohio, New Mexico, Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan.

“Normally we get new bears every year – cubs. Out of the 41 bears here, 37 of them I bottle fed,” he said.

And each bear is placed in the sanctuary because of car accidents, poachers, and more.

“I’ve had several people in different zoos who’ve been here and said, ‘when I die, I want to come back here as a bear at Oswald’s Bear Ranch.’ Great,” he said.

Oswald said the ranch is expecting one of the busiest summers yet.

The sanctuary is open every day from 9:30 in the morning until 5 O’clock at night and until 4 O’clock at night after Labor Day. The ranch closes for the season Sunday, October 10.

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