Stash Your Trash to Avoid Bears

FINES: Up to 450 Eagle River houses left garbage
out the night before pickup -- a dangerous act

Doug O'Hara / Anchorage Daily News / May 4, 2004

Bear season has launched, and state officials say it is time to manage trash and stash bird feeders.

A small brown bear was seen ripping into a bird feeder in the same Eagle River area where bears created havoc last October and November, according to state biologist Rick Sinnott.

This bear was seen near Gruening Middle School in the Parkview Terrace area on Thursday night. As a result, residents in neighborhoods in the Eagle River Loop Road area must start keeping garbage inside or bears will start eating refuse and ultimately lose their fear of people, Sinnott said.

People in other areas of town that overlap bear habitat, from Muldoon to the lower Hillside, should do the same.

"From what we've heard, the bear seems reluctant to come very far into the neighborhood yet, but it's going to figure it out," Sinnott said. "At some point, the bear's going to get a little too bold and a little too aggressive and somebody's going to shoot it."

State law prohibits careless feeding or using food to attract bears, moose, wolves, coyotes, foxes or wolverines. Homeowners who leave garbage at the curb the night before pickup and allow bears to chow down could be fined $110.

For several months last fall, authorities received more than 100 reports of bears cruising the Eagle Ridge, Parkview Terrace, Eagle Crossing and Eaglewood subdivisions. The tidy, dense neighborhoods extend for about two miles along a greenbelt used by bears, moose and other wild animals as a natural corridor to undeveloped land upriver and in Chugach State Park.

An estimated 450 houses were leaving garbage out all night. At least two people received fines, Sinnott said.

In a patrol early Friday morning a few hours after the latest bear was seen, Sinnott found 126 houses with garbage at the curb along Parkview Terrace.

Sinnott fears the same situation has begun again.

"I'm so disgusted with the people in Eagle River who haven't figured this out," he said Monday. "They're endangering, if not their own children, then somebody else's."

Daily News reporter Doug O'Harra can be reached at do'

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