City staff pinpoint 7 bear hot spots

Posted: Wednesday, April 17, 2002

Dumpsters in seven newly declared "bear problems areas" will need metal lids or secure enclosures by Thursday under a new city law.

City Manager Dave Palmer identified seven bear problem areas in Juneau over the weekend. They include parts of Auke Bay, the east Mendenhall Valley area, Lemon Creek, Coogan Drive, West Juneau and parts of Douglas, the downtown hillside and the area around Bartlett Regional Hospital.

Detailed maps are available at

Under a law passed by the Juneau Assembly last month, a Dumpster needs a metal lid or must be inside a secure enclosure if it is in bear problem area, has been opened by a bear before, is used by a restaurant or has a smell likely to attract a bear. If an owner can prove he or she has ordered a lid but hasn't been able to install one because they are in short supply, the fine may be waived. The Dumpster law takes effect Thursday.

Representatives from the state Department of Fish and Game, the garbage contractor Waste Management, the Juneau Police Department and the city developed the list of bear problem areas, according to city staffer Maria Gladziszewski. For the most part, they are on the edge of bear-friendly forest habitat, she said.

Bear problem areas around Juneau

The city manager has declared seven "bear problem areas" in Juneau where metal Dumpster lids will be required. They are:

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

• East Mendenhall Valley: East of Mendenhall Loop Road to Thunder Mountain, from Egan Drive to Gladstone Street.

• Lemon Creek: Lemon Creek (the creek) to the state Department of Transportation's office at 7 mile Glacier Highway.

• All of Coogan Drive.

• Downtown hillside: The rock dump to Cope Park, including Calhoun and Distin Avenues, Starr Hill and Basin Road.

• Salmon Creek/Bartlett Regional Hospital area: The northwest end of Greenwood Avenue to the Salmon Creek Trail, upland of Egan Drive.

• West Juneau/Douglas: The Douglas Island side of the bridge to I Street in Douglas.

"We spread out big giant maps and figured out where in Juneau (bear) calls have come from," she said. "They are areas likely to have conflicts with humans and bears."

The city estimates 147 Dumpsters are in bear problem areas and another 53 restaurant containers will fall under the metal lid law, Gladziszewski said. T&S Welding in Juneau is producing about 10 steel lids a day, she said.

The declaration doesn't mean the rest of town won't see bear activity, police community service officer Bob Dilley said. The "bear problem areas" are spots where officials have noticed bears getting into Dumpsters, he said.

All other trash containers in Juneau are governed by a law passed last year. Garbage cans need to be labeled with the homeowner's address and should not be placed outside until 4 a.m. on the morning of pickup unless they are in a bear-resistant container.

"Storage of garbage is the same everywhere in the city," he said.

Dilley said he is writing a couple of tickets a day for trash violations.

"In the past it used to be that warnings were the most common for people to receive," he said. "Mostly people are getting citations with a few warnings sprinkled here and there."

The police department has been getting between one and five bear calls a week over the last month, a number that may grow to 70 a week later this summer, based on last year's totals.

Fines for attracting bears start at $50 for a first-time violation.

Joanna Markell can be reached at

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