There were rumors recently that with the redesign and additions to the Missoula County Airport, the iconic Alaskan Brown Bear mount in the airport lobby, along with the other mounts were to be removed altogether.

According to Missoula County Airport Manager Chris Jensen, nothing could be further from the truth, in fact, Jensen said the big bear would actually become something of a ‘spokes bear’ during the remodeling.

“In fact, the big bear that people have become so familiar with in our main lobby will actually become the centerpiece for our public relations campaign related to the terminal’s construction coming up,” said Jensen. “It will kind of be around the theme ‘bear with us’.”

Jensen said the mounts would be moved, but stay in the terminal.

“What we are doing is relocating some of them within the existing facility obviously because our construction will impact the spaces that are available to us,” he said. “In fact, one of the fun things we’re going to do as part of our campaign will be to name the bear, so we’ll have a contest for the public and they’ll get the opportunity to name the bear. We’re still talking about the possible prize. It might be airline tickets or something like that.”

Jensen said the addition to the Missoula airport is already underway.

“The first thing that people will notice is that the security checkpoint will be relocated to the center of the building, so we’re doing the preparation for that right now. December 11th is the week that we’re targeting for the actual relocating of the security equipment.”

So, the big bear will stay, and officials will be asking the bruin to be a ‘spokes bear’, asking airport customers and visitors to ‘bear with us’ during the remodeling.