'Aggressive bear activity' closes Dike Trail

Posted: Sunday, May 02, 2010

Juneau airport officials closed the Dike Trail Friday to all pedestrian traffic until further notice due to "aggressive bear activity."

Joel Irwin / Juneau Empire
Joel Irwin / Juneau Empire

Ryan Scott, area biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, said the decision came after officials were notified of a black bear sow and two cubs that have been seen in the trees located between the trail and the float plane pond. He said the sow was exhibiting unwanted behavior that could be a result of heightened activity in the area.

"The bears are in the trees and that's good," Scott said. "But this has been a poor sequence of events."

He's referring to the construction currently under way in the vicinity of the trailhead, as well as the foot traffic and pets that frequent the Dike Trail. And when an individual was bluff-charged by the sow, Scott said that's when they decided to close the trail.

Patty de LaBruere, deputy airport manager for the Juneau International Airport, said as of mid-morning Friday three wildlife biologists were on scene to evaluate the situation.

"We've had bears around here before," she said. "But for them to be this aggressive is worrisome."

Both Scott and de LaBruere said it is unclear exactly what the bluff-charge entailed, but that it's safe to say the bears are uncomfortable.

"The best thing we can do now is just keep an eye on it, leave them alone and let her cool down," Scott said. "I've been told the cubs are very tiny, so they're probably of this year. (The sow) will likely move the cubs out of the area as soon as possible."

For further information, contact the Juneau International Airport manager's office at 789-7821.

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