It’s bear season, which means Juneau residents should be extra careful about how they store their garbage to prevent creating a bear attraction nuisance on their property. Keeping bears away from garbage is an important way to prevent conflicts and confrontations between bears and humans. Here’s a brief summary of the City and Borough of Juneau bear ordinance:
- 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 business has a dumpster, it must be kept within a garbage containment area or fitted with bear-resistant metal lid.
- 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, which is a $50 fine for the first offense. Juneau Police Department Community Service Officers have issued 21 of these citations so far this year.
Juneau is prime black bear habitat and it isn’t uncommon to see bears wandering by. A black bear passing through is generally not a threat and there’s no need to call authorities. If given space, time, and the opportunity to retreat, most bears will wander back into the woods.
For more information and resources, read Living with Bears in Juneau, or contact a Juneau Police Department Community Service Officer at 586-0600 (when prompted, press 5).