CBJ Stock Image

Arboretum closed until further notice due to excessive bear activity

September 5, 2018 – FYI, News

The Jensen-Olson Arboretum is closed until further notice due to excessive on-site bear activity. In order to preserve bear and human safety, the Arboretum Manager has closed the site to visitors as of Wednesday, September 5. The closure is expected to last approximately two to three weeks; however, a time frame is not confirmed. Visitor access will not be allowed during this time and no exceptions will be made.

Updates regarding the closure can be found by searching the Arboretum Facebook page, the CBJ Facebook page, or juneau.org.

For more information, please call Arboretum Manager Merrill Jensen at 907-789-0139, or the Parks and Recreation Department at 586-5226.


Here’s additional information on the Arboretum closure from Manager Merrill Jensen:

– We are working closely with Alaska Department of Fish & Game and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to ensure best practices for bear and human safety while we address this situation.

– Each year, during the Autumn season, the Arboretum receives occasional bear visits; however, this year is very different in that we have at least 1 persistent bear and several others regularly visiting. These bears are feeding on the berries of our historic Mountain Ash trees that were planted in the 60s and surround the garden. This feeding activity may be due to the low numbers of fish in the surrounding creeks and-or the low availability of berries in the forest. In the last several years, ravens and robins have fed on the Mountain Ash berries before bears began looking for a Fall food source.

– The Arboretum is managed by CBJ, with oversight by the Southeast Alaska Land Trust – the organization which holds the conservation easement on the Arboretum property. Since opening as a public garden in 2007, we have been working with the Land Trust to replace bear-attracting trees with trees that do not provide a food source for bears. Over these years, we have removed and replaced 10 trees and will continue to do so at a slow pace in order to preserve garden aesthetics inasmuch as possible.

– The Arboretum does not have sufficient resources (staff or infrastructure) to safely manage bear and human interactions on an ongoing basis, resulting in our need to close the grounds.

We appreciate the understanding of our Juneau community and look forward to opening the Arboretum as soon as possible.