Black Bear

Juneau is prime black bear habitat and it isn’t uncommon to see bears traveling through neighborhoods. A black bear passing through is generally not a threat. Black bears are rarely aggressive toward people and no serious attacks have ever been reported in Juneau. If given space, time, and the opportunity to retreat, most bears will wander back into the woods.

  • Is the bear eating natural foods and/or just passing through?  If a bear is eating natural foods-such as berries or grass-leave it alone and give it time and space to leave. Unless the bear receives food rewards (garbage, dog food, birdseed), it will generally move on.
  • Is the bear climbing onto property? If the bear is climbing onto your porch or deck, encourage it to leave by banging pots or making other loud noises. After the bear leaves, remove any attractants.
  • Is the bear getting into garbage? If the bear is getting into your garbage, wait in a safe place–a car or house–until you are sure the bear has gone. Clean up whatever attracted it to your property, and keep trash cans inaccessible until the morning of pickup day. Don’t give this or any other bear a chance to get another food reward.

A Fed Bear is a Dead Bear

  • Bears attracted to neighborhoods by garbage become problems for you, your neighbors (including kids!), and, eventually, for police.
  • It is your responsibility to keep your garbage away from bears.

Protect all of your neighbors–including bears–by keeping trash and other attractants away from bears.

Juneau residents have long been asked to try to keep garbage away from bears. Now, local ordinances (in effect year-round) offer that little extra incentive: you may be fined if you don’t! Expect continued vigorous enforcement. Below is a brief summary of relevant provisions:

  •  All dumpsters containing putrescible waste must be fitted with a tight fitting metal lid or be behind barriers sufficient to deny entry by a bear.
  • Garbage cans may be put out to the curb for collection no sooner than 4 a.m. on pickup day.
  • Other than after 4 a.m. on pickup day, garbage must be kept in a bear resistant container or enclosure. That is ◦in a strong fully enclosed structure such as a garage
    • in another “bear resistant enclosure,” defined as an enclosure that you can’t get into unless you use hands or tools. If it can be opened by stomping on it, kicking it, running into it with your body, or other similar action, it is not bear resistant.
  •  Garbage cans must be fitted with lids so as to remain secure if cans are tipped over.
  • If your garbage has attracted bears and you fail to take steps to legally store your garbage, you could be cited for maintaining a bear attraction nuisance, a $50 fine for the first offense.

For the full text of relevant ordinances, click on the “Laws” tab  in the section below.

Living With Bears in Juneau No Bears Sign

The people of Juneau have experienced recurring conflicts with bears in our community. The city is surrounded by prime black bear habitat and it isn’t uncommon to see bears wandering through town. Juneau residents treasure the natural surroundings in which we live: we live in bear country and we feel lucky to do so.

Because we understand our responsibility to the wildlife whose home we share, our community was among the first in the nation to enact local laws aimed at keeping bears out of garbage. As we continue to refine laws and practices, Juneau is becoming a model for other communities committed to living in harmony with wildlife.

QUESTIONS?

The Laws

Summary

Juneau residents have long been asked to try to keep garbage away from bears. Now, local ordinances (in effect year-round) offer that little extra incentive: you may be fined if you don’t! Expect continued vigorous enforcement in 2012.

Below is a brief summary of relevant provisions:

  • Garbage cans may be put out to the curb for collection no sooner than 4 a.m. on pickup day.
  • Other than after 4 a.m. on pickup day, garbage must be kept in a bear resistant container or enclosure.
    • in a strong fully enclosed structure such as a garage
    • in another “bear resistant enclosure,” defined as an enclosure that you can’t get into unless you use hands or tools. If it can be opened by stomping on it, kicking it, running into it with your body, or other similar action, it is not bear resistant.
  • Garbage cans must be fitted with lids so as to remain secure if cans are tipped over.
  • If your garbage has attracted bears and you fail to take steps to legally store your garbage, you could be cited for maintaining a bear attraction nuisance, a $50 fine for the first offense.

Detail: Juneau Ordinances Regarding Garbage Storage

  • Current Law: CBJ Ordinance 2004-11, adopted 3/22/04
    Reenacting the Urban Bear Ordinance, effective April 22, 2004. This ordinance mandates metal lids on all dumpsters containing putrescible waste, defines the times that you may put out garbage cans for pick up, allows for fines if your garbage has attracted bears and you fail to take steps to legally store your garbage, requires that all garbage cans be fitted with lids that will remain secure if cans are tipped over.
  • Archive, for information only: CBJ Ordinance 2002-04(am-2), adopted 3/18/02
    Repealing and Reenacting the Urban Bear Ordinance. This ordinance mandates metal lids on certain dumpsters, allows the manager to designate “bear problem areas”, defines the times that you may put out garbage cans for pick up, and allows for fines if your garbage has attracted bears and you fail to take steps to legally store your garbage. (completely superceded by CBJ Ordinance 2004-11)
  • CBJ Ordinance 2001-37, adopted 07/02/2001
    (completely superceded by CBJ Ordinance 2002-04(am-2)
  • CBJ Ordinance 2001-23, adopted 05/21/2001
    (partially superceded by CBJ Ordinance 2002-04(am-2)

Laws in other jurisdictions, for information only:

Bear Publications

City and Borough of Juneau Publications

  • Living with Bears: How to Avoid Conflict – Two sided pamphlet with tips on how to avoid conflict with bears.
  • Living in Bear Country – A four page brochure with tips on how to keep your garbage away from bears, an explanation of the CBJ garbage laws, and what you should do if you see a bear.
  • Tips on Garbage Storage – Two sided publication, one side with tips on how to store garbage and the other with drawings of how to build a bear resistance garbage enclosure.

Other Government Publications

Non-Profit and Other Organizations

Garbage Storage Ideas

Where may garbage be stored?

At all times, year round, except after 4 a.m. on pickup day:

  • In a strong, fully enclosed structure such as a garage.
  • In a “bear resistant enclosure” – that is, in an enclosure that you can’t get into unless you use your hands or tools. If it can be opened by stomping on it, kicking it, running into it with your body, or other similar actions, it isn’t bear resistant.

Resources, Ideas, and Links

  • Products for Sale — Garbage cans, cages, and other options
  • Garbage Enclosures in Juneau (email us photos of yours and we’ll post them here!)
  • Build Your Own — Specs for Building a Wooden Enclosure
    • If you do not have the luxury of keeping your garbage cans in a garage or shed or other fully-enclosed sturdy structure, here are some ideas for how to build an enclosure for your cans and a pdf print out sample:
      • Minimum of 5/8 inch plywood; 2 x 4 construction; use screws instead of nails.
      • Heavy duty hinges and latches strong enough that they cannot be pried open by claws.
      • No seams that claws can get into (use metal flashing to cover seams).
      • Secured so it can’t be tipped.
      • If you can get into it without using your hands-by jumping on it, kicking it, using your shoulders-then it isn’t bear resistant.
    • Publication – “Tips on Garbage Storage” One side contains tips, the other side contains drawings of how to build a bear-resistant container.

Things We’re Sure DO NOT WORK!

  • Regular Rubber/Plastic Garbage Cans – These cans are regularly stomped on, chewed, and mauled by bears. They definitely do not meet the definition of “bear resistant!”
  • Plastic Storage Sheds – The ones designed for gardening equipment and other general purpose storage. Again, these are regularly broken into by bears.

Calls to the Juneau Police Department Regarding Bears: 2017

Displaying 1 - 25 of 28

DateTitleTypeDocument
10-16-2017Call LogsCalls to JPDView PDF
10-09-2017Call LogsCalls to JPDView PDF
10-02-2017Call LogsCalls to JPDView PDF
09-25-2017Call LogsCalls to JPDView PDF
09-18-2017Call LogsCalls to JPDView PDF
09-11-2017Call LogsCalls to JPDView PDF
09-04-2017Call LogsCalls to JPDView PDF
08-28-2017Call LogsCalls to JPDView PDF
08-21-2017Call LogsCalls to JPDView PDF
08-14-2017Call LogsCalls to JPDView PDF
08-07-2017Call LogsCalls to JPDView PDF
07-31-2017Call LogsCalls to JPDView PDF
07-24-2017Call LogsCalls to JPDView PDF
07-17-2017Call LogsCalls to JPDView PDF
07-10-2017Call LogsCalls to JPDView PDF
07-03-2017Call LogsCalls to JPDView PDF
06-26-2017Call LogCalls to JPDView PDF
06-19-2017Call LogCalls to JPDView PDF
06-12-2017Call LogsCalls to JPDView PDF
06-05-2017Call LogCalls to JPDView PDF
05-29-2017Call LogCalls to JPDView PDF
05-22-2017Call LogCalls to JPDView PDF
05-15-2017Call LogCalls to JPDView PDF
05-08-2017Call LogCalls to JPDView PDF
05-01-2017Call LogCalls to JPDView PDF
DateTitleTypeDocument
Call Log Archive

Bear Facts and Links – Additional Bear Information

Although most of these sites contain information on all aspects of living with bears, bear encounters, and bear culture, we have catagorized them by their primary focus.

Living with Bears

  •  American Bear Association-Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary – Living smart in Black Bear Country. “You may save yourself problems and save a bear’s life by following these simple guidelines.” Actual bear sounds audio and a kid’s corner too!
  • Colorado Wildlife Company, Living With Bears – “How People Get Bears into Trouble,” and Living With Bears, Black Bear or Grizzly Bear?, Grizzly Bears, Are You Out There?, Bear Facts, and Spirit Bear.
  •  Living with Bears: Black Bears of the Midwest – Tips on how to handle bears around homes and camps, encountering a bear, and identifying bears.
  • Wind River Bear Institute, Home of the Wind River Karelian Bear Dogs – “By identifying attractants and casual behaviors that mean nothing to us, but present a windfall to a hungry bear, conflicts between humans and bears can be prevented. Success depends on the partnership between the public, landowners and management agencies working together to keep alive a legacy that has vanished in other areas of the country.”

Government Sites

Advocacy Groups

  • Bear League – The mission of the Bear League is to save bears through education, information, intervention and partnership, reminding people we can live in harmony with bears.

Others