Juneau expands its bear problem areas

Action will require metal lids for Dumpsters

Posted: Friday, March 14, 2003

The city is expanding the boundaries of four "bear problem areas" in an effort to keep bears out of garbage-filled Dumpsters.

Acting City Manager Donna Pierce issued new boundaries for the four existing bear problem areas on Thursday. Dumpsters in such areas need to have a metal lid or be placed behind a barrier to keep bears out.

Metal-lid requirements have proved successful at reducing bear-neighborhood conflicts in Juneau, Pierce said in a press release.

"We saw dramatic reductions in calls to (Juneau police) from certain areas last summer once metal lids were installed on Dumpsters," she said. "We also know that bears are moving on to new unsecured Dumpsters and we're taking this action to prevent new bears from learning bad habits."

The new boundaries cover about 75 Dumpsters and take effect Monday, said Maria Gladziszewski, a special projects officer with the city.

"The police are not going to be unreasonable about enforcing it if people try to get a lid and have been unable to get one because of supply," she said. "This is basically a notice that people need to start getting themselves on a list and ordering, getting a lid or building an enclosure."

The state Department of Fish and Game, the police department and other city departments recommended the change. Areas with new boundaries are:

• East Mendenhall Valley: Egan Drive north to the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center and from the Mendenhall River east to Thunder Mountain.

• Lemon Creek: Vanderbilt Hill Road to the state Department of Transportation's office at 7 mile Glacier Highway, including Coogan Drive.

• Downtown: The Thane Road rock dump to Norway Point.

• West Juneau-Douglas: Douglas Bridge south to Linellen Heights subdivision in Douglas.

The boundaries on two other bear problem areas will stay the same. They are:

• Salmon Creek-hospital area: The northwest end of Greenwood Avenue to Salmon Creek Trail, upland of Egan Drive.

• Auke Bay: Auke Bay harbor road to Waydelich Creek and up Mendenhall Loop Road to University Drive.

Meanwhile, a Juneau Assembly committee has been reviewing other possible changes to the city's bear law. A proposed rewrite would ban plastic Dumpster lids citywide, require trash cans to have a tight-fitting lid, and allow the city to apply for administrative search warrants to deal with problem garbage containers and piles.

At a meeting in January, some Assembly members said they were concerned about the administrative warrants and tight-fitting lid provisions.

Detailed maps of the city's new bear problem areas are available at www.juneau.org/bears.

Joanna Markell can be reached at joannam@juneauempire.com.

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