Bears looking for an easy meal continue to be a problem around Petersburg.
Borough assembly members, like Jeff Meucci, put out the call Monday for the community to do a better job of securing trash cans.
“You know we can do a few things to minimize the amount of garbage cans that are getting knocked over and drug down the street and thrown all over your neighbor’s yard,” Meucci said. “If we can secure the lid, that’s great if you can keep your garbage can inside until your day of pickup, that’s great. I guess there’s some options out there to secure your garbage can lid a little bit more securely.”
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has captured and relocated three bears to the south end of Mitkof Island this year. It’s a problem that resurfaces every few years as bears seek calories before hibernation. A poor berry year or fewer salmon in area streams can make it worse. Biologists say chickens are a target along with garbage cans.
Another assembly member Jeigh Stanton Gregor said even a bungee cord across the lid did not stop a bear from his trash.
“You know a motivated bear is a pretty tough creature to stop,” Stanton Gregor said. “Most of our neighborhood has gone to keeping ours in our garages. Not ideal. Nobody likes the smell of garbage in their garage but it’s worked. You know we haven’t had garbage strewn across our neighborhood since most of us have taken those steps. So I strongly encourage members of the public to properly secure it, whether it’d be with straps, in the garage, lock it down and then they will go away. If there’s no food they move on.”
The nuisance black bears are reported throughout the community this year. Assembly member Taylor Norheim also cautioned against letting children play in wooded areas where bears might be.