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Samson, "The Hot Tub Bear", Monument

Dedication Ceremony at Monrovia Canyon Park (MCP)
March 23, 2002

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The Story of Samson

The story of Samson, The Hot Tub Bear, inspired people worldwide to recognize the special connection that humans and animals can share. This local and lovable celebrity of Monrovia pulled people together from all demographics, who found a common goal in the plight of an old bear. From his story there is hope that people can begin to better understand, respect and protect wildlife and its habitat.

Samson's early years were spent roaming the foothills, but as he grew older, he discovered the easy life of living on the trash left by people. Normally the saying, "A fed bear is a dead bear," almost came to pass in Samson's life. In 1994, after several months of enjoying the warm waters of a hot tub, he became ill from ingesting a plastic bag and was then captured by the California State Department of Fish and Game. The old, toothless bear quickly became accustomed to the people caring for him and therefore could not be released back to the wild. Samson was sentenced to death. Monrovians pulled together and Samson became an international celebrity with his stay of execution. The story caught the attention of Forest DeSpain, the director of the Orange County Zoo. Monetary contributions from people worldwide, many from school children, paid for an enclosure, complete with a hot tub, that would allow Samson to take up residence at the Orange County Zoo until his death of old age on May 14, 2001.

The monument that is placed in front of Monrovia Canyon Park's Nature Center, symbolizes the stand that people can make to save wildlife and its habitat. Samson is an example of what can happen, but far to many times less popular animals died needlessly. People must integrate a wildlife philosophy that understands nature's interdependence so that future generations of both man and animals can co-exist in the natural world.

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Dedication Ceremony Photos

The Kattywompus Band, Click for larger image Prior to the ceremony, a small but enthusiastic audience listened to soothing music provided by Monrovia's famous "Kattywompus String Band". Click for larger image
Click for larger image On a beautiful but cloudy Saturday morning, the long hours spent by the Samson Committee finally paid off with the dedication ceremony of the Samson Monument in front of the Monrovia Canyon Park Nature Center.
The master of ceremonies was Daniel Iwata, the Manager of Monrovia's Parks Division. Dan told the story of the history of the Samson project and presented special appreciation award plaques to all members of the Samson Committee. Daniel Iwata, Click for larger image
Mayor Lara Blakely, Click for larger image The audience then heard speeches by Mary Ann Lutz, Pamela Fitzpatrick and the former Mayor of Monrovia, Lara Blakely, praising all the people and all their hard work that went into making the Samson Project and the day a reality.
Then the "big moment" finally arrived, the actual unveiling, by Mary Ann Lutz and Lara Blakely, of the Samson Statue. After the unveiling, everyone was invited into the Nature Center for the viewing of the short video "Samson the Hot Tub Bear", narrated by Jennifer Ranger and produced by Daniel Iwata. Unveiling, Click for larger image
Monument Plaque, Click for larger image All in all it was a warm, friendly ceremony with everyone in attendance coming away instilled with the philosophy so simply stated on the monument's plaque.

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Samson Committee

Pamela Fitzpatrick   Jennifer Ranger
Gary and Connie Potter   Glen Owens   Craig Shaid


Anna Armstrong   Richard Walker
Big Santa Anita Historical Society
County of Orange, Harbors, Beaches & Parks


Roy Hamari, Big Bear, California

A special thanks to all of our
Samson Monument donors

Samson @ Orange Co. Zoo

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Samson Commemorative Coin - $10 Donation

On May 14, 2011, Samson helped the City of Monrovia celebrate its 125th anniversary by becoming their decorated mascot. We are asking for your help in continuing to honor Samson's legacy by contributing to Monrovia Canyon Park.

With your donation of $10.00, you will receive the above Samson Commemorative Coin. Your donation will help fund the Monrovia Canyon Park Volunteer, Maintenance, Operations and Educational Outreach programs. For more information about the Samson Commemorative Coin, call Monrovia Canyon Park at
(626) 256-8281 or (626) 256-8155.

On behalf of Monrovia Canyon Park, I thank you for your consideration.

|Top of Page |Samson's Story |Thumbnails |Acknowledgements |Commemorative Coin |Bob's Hikes |MCP Trail Map |MCP Nature Center |Official Monrovia Canyon Park Webpage |

URL for this page: http://hikertechnologies.com/samsonhp.htm
This page developed by Bob Dollins © 2002-2012
Background "Samson" sketch by Ed Belknap ©
Honeybear GIF courtesy Orange County Zoo website.
Version (01.16): May 19, 2011