Leave the Mendenhall Glacier bears alone

Posted: Friday, November 30, 2001

I hear that Fish and Game is tiring to dart the brown bear sow and cub at the Mendenhall Glacier. My question is "why?" It's all due to one person that went on a trail marked "Trail Closed Brown Bear Exhibiting Aggressive Behavior!" This person went on a closed trail with (four) dogs that were not on a leash. Closed means closed! This person broke the leash law! They need to be fined for not having their dogs on a leash, plus for animal abuse and endangerment! The "dogs caused the problem" and could have been mauled or even killed, or could have led the bear to people, just out for a walk.

This person had an idea that they could use the dogs to protect them on the trail. Wrong. You only make an encounter worse. The sow was fishing in a stream minding her own business, only to be charged by two barking dogs, the dogs got between her an the cub, and of course she going to protect her child! I grew up here, and to ran into bear, deer, bobcat, wolves, and other critters. This is normal! I remember walking home to Pederson Hill from Dehart's being followed by wolves. We had a bobcat that lived in the woods behind the house, and would fight with my cat. I would wait for the school bus in the mornings and the same black bear would stick his head out of the woods and look around. I spend most of my free time on Admiralty Island with the largest population of brown bears in the world, and I have never had a problem with them. The only protection I carry on my walks to Piling Point is a soda can filled with sand placed on top of a walking stick!

When we would see wildlife in the back yard we didn't run around screaming "Call 911!" I tell the people of my home, Juneau Alaska, think first, please think! I don't think these bears should be removed. She only was looking for a safe place for her cub. She has been chased out of the mountains by a male brown bear. They well kill a sow's cubs! She's not out to get you. Please have a heart. We need changes for the Mendenhall Glacier area!

Please let her stay!

Helen Mielke


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