State objects to Dillingham dump bear tour

Posted: Thursday, May 18, 2000

ANCHORAGE - Letting a guide charge people $20 to view bears at the Dillingham dump is a bad idea that ``sets a bad example for other Alaska communities,'' state officials say.

The Dillingham City Council recently granted a permit allowing wildlife viewing at the dump, which attracts up to 70 brown bears.

Department of Environmental Conservation Solid Waste Program Manager Heather Stockard quickly sent a letter notifying Dillingham officials that state law requires landfills to be managed to keep wildlife and pets away.

``Bears are a problem at landfills throughout the state and we're working with communities to minimize their bear problems,'' Stockard said. ``This is a bad idea that certainly seems to be in conflict with the city's responsibility to appropriately manage the landfill.''

Allowing tourists to enter the gated landfill and sit in a van while they watch bears eat trash is unsafe, she said.

It's not clear yet whether the her letter will sway council members to reconsider the permit, which passed May 5 by a 4-1 vote.

City manager Chris Hladick, who opposed the plan, said he will give council members the letter. He will also suggest they view a video about the problem of bears at landfills. Hladick said he hopes the council will reconsider.

``I just don't think it's a good idea to let people get that close to them,'' he said.

Hladick also is working with state officials to close the problem landfill and open up a new one with an electric fence to keep out bears.

Local tour operator Karen Roberts, who was awarded the permit, said she thinks the state is late stepping in.

``Bears have been a problem at the landfill for a long time,'' Roberts said. ``People were illegally getting into the dump and now that a safe proposition has come across the desk, the city manager is trying to stop it.''



Page not found | Juneau Empire - Alaska's Capital City Online Newspaper

Page not found

We're sorry, but the page you were seeking does not exist. It may have been moved or expired.  Perhaps our search engine can help. 

 

CONTACT US

  • Switchboard: 907-586-3740
  • Circulation and Delivery: 907-586-3740
  • Newsroom Fax: 907-586-9097
  • Business Fax: 907-586-9097
  • Accounts Receivable: 907-523-2230
  • View the Staff Directory
  • or Send feedback

ADVERTISING

SUBSCRIBER SERVICES

SOCIAL NETWORKING

X