Letter: A blessing, not a curse

Posted: Friday, June 29, 2001

In response to Tom Buzzel's article and others that have appeared in the last few days, most people would give up everything they have to come and live in a place where the possibility of seeing a bear is an everyday reality. Having grown up here in Juneau, I love the fact that the wilderness is literally at my front door. It is a blessing, not a curse.

If you want to live in a populated community devoid of bears, there are thousands of them all over the rest of our country. I would hazard to guess, however, that most people that live in Alaska are here because the love the wilderness.

As for the bears chasing children in your trailer park, Tom, I would say watch your children and the times they are outside. I live in an apartment complex that had several problems with garbage bears last summer and yet my two boys, who love to play outdoors, were never subjected to such an experience. This is because I paid attention to where they were, I knew when to call them in and I knew what to look for before I sent them out (problem garbage areas being a major warning sign). I also gave them strict guidelines on where they were allowed to play. As a result of my actions, my children were able to play safely and are aware of the dangers bears represent. I explain these dangers to them regularly. With such knowledge, we (bears and people) can cohabitate without having to kill every bear that wanders into our community.

Personally, I would rather live here where it is more likely that my child would encounter a bear than a gang member, a drug dealer, a child molester, etc. We can effectively prevent harmful encounters with bears with just a little common sense. Obviously, not everyone has a whole lot of common sense, so yes, someday, someone may have a fatal encounter with a bear. Is that the bear's fault?

Let's all just use a little common sense and enjoy the fact that we live in one of the most beautiful (and the most wild) communities on the face of the earth.

Patrick McGonegal


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