What not to do when you see bears

Letter to the Editor

Posted: Monday, June 05, 2006

I bumped into a black bear on the stairs by the Governor's Mansion the other day. I was walking up as it was walking down. When I saw two furry black ears, I assumed it was a big dog. But when I realized it was a bear, I stood still and waited for it to amble away, which it did after stopping and looking my way. Pretty neat.

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I saw what I think was the same bear walking by the Governor's Mansion on my way down a while later, making its way back toward Basin Road. As it crossed the street, it was chased first by one car and then a few others. Cars were followed by people - folks I know are Juneauites, not tourists - jogging in the bear's direction and jostling for a better look. The result - one stressed out bear quickly out of view. Pretty awful considering all our efforts at making Juneau more "bear aware."

We live in great bear habitat and it's not uncommon to see one ambling through the yard. Different folks have different ideas of what to do if you see one. Here's what not to do:

Don't approach bears for a better look.

Don't chase them on foot or in your car.

Give them the time and space to move on, and they will. Be respectful and enjoy living in an amazing place. And please remind your neighbors to do the same.

Nonna Shtipelman


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