SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


The Bear Essentials
By Ardath Piston


September 09, 2007
Sunday PM

A few thoughts on the many letters I have read concerning bears:

I agree 100% that the City and Borough need to follow Juneau's lead and fine people if their garbage is not properly confined.

Bears are creatures of opportunity. A stinky garbage can is as good as a drive through fast food joint.

Ammonia has worked for me when applied full strength with a squirt bottle. Spray the entire can on a regular basis especially after it rains.

Clean the inside of your cans weekly. Remember that mixing bleach and ammonia is toxic, so only use one or the other.

A bungee cord seems to be effective for some people, but honestly, if a 300 + lb bear wants in a can, a bungee cord is not going to stop it. Tie downs are far more effective because you can cinch them down tight.

Garbage cans need to be kept in a secure shed or garage until garbage pick-up day. I often see cans at the curb all week long.

All meat, bones, and vegetable matter should be kept in a freezer until garbage pick up day.

Pet food and bird feeders also attract bears.

Everyone in the neighborhood needs to follow proper garbage storage guidelines. One person who is lax can ruin it for everyone.

Once a bear learns that is can get a free meal at a specific home, they will return. Is that the bears fault? No, it is the fault of the person who is irresponsible with their garbage.

Look around your neighborhood. Is there trash in the street? Is there garbage in the woods? Is your neighbor notorious for leaving their garbage out? Pick it up...even if it is not your garbage, it is adding to the problem.

If you can't fit all of your garbage in one can, don't over stuff the can, take it to the dump.

If you have some really stinky garbage (fish carcasses, deer carcasses) don't put them in your can, take them to the dump. You are already being charged a land fill fee on your utility bill, it won't cost you any extra money.

It is unfair to assume that someone else (Fish and Game, State Troopers, City Police) should be called in to eradicate bears because people are too lazy to take responsibility for their garbage.

There will always be people who look to others to solve their problems; don't be one of those people. Talk to your neighbors, form a neighborhood group that can offer help, information, or regular garbage patrol. As the saying goes, "Be part of the solution, not the problem".

Ardath Piston
Ketchikan, AK


Received September 08, 2007 - Published September 09, 2007

About: "15 year resident of Ketchikan, I have worked in remote field camps near the Unuk and Chickamin rivers as well as Hyder just to name a few. I frequently camp on our remote property on Gravina. I live north of town and have not had a bear problem in years. "


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Fish and Game: Living in Harmony With Bears

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Ketchikan, Alaska