Too often we seem eager to rally round splashy, expensive methods intended to cure ills, rather than taking the often simpler and less expensive actions that can prevent the ills in the first place. Pat Costello and, by way of its title for Pat's letter to the editor, ("The problem is still garbage") the Juneau Empire, hit the nail on the head. The problem is still garbage, and the answer to Juneau's bear problem is not an enclosed bear "sanctuary" with the partial goal of returning rehabilitated bears to their natural habitat.
Juneau's bears already have a natural sanctuary where they (and we) can remain largely safe from negative, garbage-related, bear-human interaction if we will change our behavior. By the relatively simple and inexpensive actions (i.e. simple and inexpensive compared to the proposed "sanctuary") suggested in Pat Costello's letter, and previously by the Bear Committee, we can drastically reduce the bear problems we've experienced in past years. Metal Dumpster lids, education of home and business owners about bear-proofing their garbage and enforcement of the garbage ordinance will obviate any perceived need for a "sanctuary" for "rehabilitation" of bears gone bad.
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