Same old story: Bears raid garbage, mayor protects people, news media bites on story

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Thousands of bears are harvested every year in Alaska, but if Alaska Fish and Game kills a pack of dangerous bears in urban Anchorage, there are going to be those who will complain, and the mainstream media is there to service the complainers.

That is how it came to pass that the New York Times wrote a story about four garbage bears who had put their hungry snouts inside the tents of campers at Centennial Park Campground one time too many and ended up dead. For the world, it’s the stuff of legends, but for Alaskans, it’s called summer.

There are few who think that destroying the garbage bears was unfair to ursus americanus. But they are the few who have the ear of the mainstream media.

“The killing of the bears raised questions in the community about the safety of the hundreds of homeless people living at the campground,” the New York Times wrote.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/07/07/us/alaska-bears-homeless-camp.html?searchResultPosition=1

“Raised questions” is a reference to the left-wing resistance to clearing dozens of homeless people from the Sullivan Arena and setting them up in tents in the Centennial Park Campground, no fee required.

Corey Allen Young, communications director for the mayor’s office, said bears are all over in Anchorage, not just at the campground. It’s not uncommon for bears to be destroyed when they become dangerous in the city limits. It happens routinely, in fact.

Alaska is bear country. An estimated 100,000 black bears roam the state — one for every seven Alaskans. The annual harvest of them is about 3,250 bears.

“As many longtime Alaskans can attest to, bears do not go to just campgrounds,” Young told a reporter. “During the summer, it is common to see them throughout the city in many neighborhoods. The priority will always be to protect humans and mitigate risks to bears.”

Young said that officials “continue to inspect camps and educate campers about bear-safe practices” and that private security personnel were already at the site but that they would now be working around the clock,” according to the Times.

During the reign of Gov. Bill Walker, state government tried to play nice with urban garbage bears, and it didn’t work out.

In 2015, a sow black bear and her four year-old cubs were relocated from Government Hill in North Anchorage to a remote corner of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, south of Anchorage. The bears were fitted with radio tracking collars to allow the Department of Fish and Game to monitor their movements. The sow also was fitted with a GPS collar.

Those bears had been picked up and flown out of Anchorage on May 1 of that year after becoming a hazard in the neighborhood. By May 4, they were within 1.5 miles of the town of Hope, and the people of Hope started securing their trash. Then the bears moved in. They became regulars.

The U.S. Forest Service restricted camping outside of Hope the following year after the bears tore up an unattended tent with food inside at the Porcupine Campground. Finally, the bears were euthanized after one of them climbed into a parked van, while the driver was relaxing inside.

In 2021, 12 bears had to be killed in Sitka. They were brown bears; Chichagof Island is full of brown bears. Every year some get destroyed because they take up residence in a neighborhood.

In May of 2022, a soldier from St. Augustine, Florida was killed by a brown bear on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, while he was on a training assignment.

It often makes more sense to destroy a bear, rather than hope that it can be reformed, once it gets a taste of easy-to-harvest human food, wildlife managers say.

“Efforts to relocate bears often fail because the animals may travel long distances to return to their location of origin. In one case recorded by the department, a brown bear relocated from Cordova to remote Montague Island in Prince William Sound was killed in Cordova less than a month later within 100 yards of its original capture site. The bear’s return entailed a 50-mile-long straight-line journey, which required a minimum 7-mile-long open saltwater crossing of Hinchinbrook Entrance from Montague Island,” the Alaska Department of Fish and Game reported.

“Even when relocation results are permanent, the solution is often only short term as new bears will move into the area. Within a day of Friday’s relocation of the Government Hill black bear sow and four cubs, the department began receiving reports of new black bears in the neighborhood.”

35 COMMENTS

  1. The New York Times can take a hike! They are like the rest of the lower ’48 and know NOTHING about our state and the people that cry because the Mayor of Anchorage is saving people’s lives need to move back to wherever they came from.

  2. The bears were attracted to the poorly kept campsites of the overrun Centennial campground. Bronson didn’t do his homework before choosing the campground as a homeless encampment. There’s a story in the ADN about the atrocious conditions there already. Bronson promised to “solve” the homeless problem but has blundered at every step.

    • Actually, this is his second choice. I guess you don’t read enough to know that originally he wanted to put the chronic inebriates near the native hospital(since the majority are natives). Where they could get better access to “help”.
      The ADN probably left out the part where the assembly torpedoed that plan. The assembly has done everything it can to handicap bronsons attempts to solve the problem. The only blunders here are your constant foot in mouth soapbox posts.

    • “……..Bronson didn’t do his homework before choosing the campground as a homeless encampment……..”
      Centennial is the only muni owned campground in the Anchorage bowl. Homework has nothing to do with the location choice. The goal was to get the homeless out of the very expensive Sullivan Arena, especially since federal aid was ending, and get the arena cleaned up and back into revenue generating business. The mayor is trying to get an orientation facility built so that the homeless can be sorted and steered into the most appropriate program for their reform, but that isn’t what the Assembly wants. They want a socialist system, not reform.

    • Our problem ballooned when we expanded the Homeless Industrial Complex, went for Seattle’s failed “Housing First” loser idea, and Berkowitz hired a “Homeless Tzar”. It’s an economic law: Anytime more money is available for an issue, there is more of that issue. I hope the people camping there are picking up the tab for the expansion to 24/7 private security. In the vein of Jonathan Swift, perhaps we should tax the homeless.

    • He provided a solution but the Progressive Assembly denied his plan. You want to blame someone blame the Assembly. You can not solve a problem if you other’s working against you. Homeless create the breading ground for bears by leaving their trash all around maybe you should look at these homeless camping areas along the Glenn highway not exactly the cleanliest areas. ADN will blow out anything are reliable as a small pole in a vipers den.

    • Indeed, Lucinda. Because the former illegal camping sites of the homeless dregs of society in the Chester Creek greenbelt and other Anchorage park areas were clearly so much better-kept and much less atrocious —- why, you could hardly even see or smell all the piles of used needles, garbage and feces!

    • Oh please, as if the obstructionist assembly had nothing to do with this at all, by delaying and nixing all plans…..
      The homeless population has camped in green belts and parks in this town for a long time WITHOUT porta-potties and food trucks.
      Lucinda, the question you should be asking is, where did all those millions of dollars go, the homeless coalition non-profits raked in during Covid? Maybe the ADN needs to ask Meg Zaletel that question and do an expose on that.

    • If they hadn’t hit there, these bears simply would have been hitting other spots in Muldoon. In 2016, I had written Dunbar a letter suggesting that all the campers next door to my apartment in the woods could go camp at Centennial Park, giving both of us better safety, but he ignored my letters and photos. Instead of draining millions in funds setting up all these shelters, why didn’t they just help these people get their own shelter? Did some of them NOT want shelter? I’m thinking so. And in that case, what is the solution to their homelessness? Maybe more drug rehab options? Seems to me Bronson and Dunleavy have advocated for that as well. Do you have a solution?

  3. Mayor protects people by moving them out of the Sullivan…to camp in tents on the edge of town next to hundreds of thousands of acres of forests… the thing this article misses (which isn’t every possible opportunity to be the mouthpiece of the Mayor’s office) is that anyone who thought about this idea immediately recognized there would be conflicts with bears! The fact that those four bears had to be dispatched was a known outcome before the first busload of people arrived. Providing a legal place for people to camp may help address some of the many issues created by the homeless population, but locating that mass camp site on the edge of the wilderness without thinking through things like providing bear-proof food lockers at every camp site (not bear-proof food barrels/cans like backpackers use) was beyond short sighted. For those of you that like to hunt bears, you just lost four more potential candidates.

    • Lots of bear hunting going on in Anchorage…. Let me know what happens when you discharge a firearm.
      Hopefully they made some good chorizo from a bountiful harvest.

    • So should we let the homeless wander the woods again and set as many acres on fire as they see fit? Maybe we should reopen the Sullivan Arena again and let them trash it to the point of condemnation.

    • “…….anyone who thought about this idea immediately recognized there would be conflicts with bears!…….”
      I sure did. But, then, illegal camps all over our greenbelts are no difference. So letting them continue to camp in the only municipal arena would be the best option, regardless of cost, because it’s safe from the bears? All the annual revenue generating trade shows held in the arena for the past 30+ years end so the homeless are safe from Muldoon bears? Turn the homeless loose on all the greenbelts during fire season because Muldoon has more bears?
      Here’s a suggestion; how about putting these people up in alcohol abuse treatment facilities?

    • You don’t think those bears wouldn’t have simply wandered all over Muldoon disturbing other peoples’ garbage like they’ve done over the decades I lived there? It was more difficult to catch them that way. Seems like Centennial Park campers made it a bit easier to do so by having them all in one place. I could be wrong on that. Just a thought.

  4. Bronson has completed his campaign promise of getting the homeless out of town and cutting services to the homeless. The bears are collateral damage

    • The only post you’ve ever written that actually kind of makes sense.We’re sick of seeing bums on every corner passed out in their own filth. I’m tired of my kids seeing it. So yeah Bronson is getting them the hell out of the way, thank God for it. You liberals would just keep buying hotels and cell phones for them hoping they would sober up and get it together. Maybe it’s hard to see from your ivory tower Frank but Anchorage under your buddy Berkowitz and AQD became a hell hole. What do you guys do with the drunks in Wisconsin? Oh yeah, you give them prefilled in Biden ballots.

    • Nugent isn’t needed. There are hundreds of bowhunters in Anchorage who would would cheerfully shoot and eat those bears for you and the vulnerable homeless campers, and they’d probably even pay a $50 fee. It’s cheaper than the gas to get out of town to hunt.

  5. Sara Palin will be on Eric boiling tomorrow let’s watch one with accomplishments go at it. Sara Sara Sara

  6. Mayor Bronson did what he had to do. Otherwise there was the possibility that part of Anchorage would burn to the ground.
    Homeless policies haven’t worked in the past. At least Mayor Bronson is trying something different.
    Camping and bears are nothing new. Homeless individuals have been dealing with this issue already. At least Centennial campground has security and Muni services. The ADN articles on this issue are incendiary. I hope Alaskans and Anchorage residents see this.

  7. The bears that were dispatched will serve example for other problem bears that used to be dispatched on a regular basis until recent years. Ever notice how all wild game avoids legal hunting areas during season? It is no coincidence, animals are smart. The reason we didn’t have all of the “pet” wildlife in the cities in the past was the animals knew what would happen. Same thing works with criminals and vagrants. We need to quit embracing bad behavior. Hugs just don’t always work. Tough love does.

  8. Where do you begin? You can’t win for losing! Ohh homeless had to deal with bears in a free park for them!

  9. The bears are a danger to people. People who camp 🏕 have to be prepared to handle that danger in Alaska. Government derives its just powers to secure all our RIGHTS and Defend our US Constitution and guaranteed form of government – the republic. This is a form of government that is not a bestowal of safety benefits. Monarchies are a form of government benefits flow. The benefits ALL go to the monarch. We don’t have monarchs in the United States. If you want benefits move to London and demand to be made monarch. Or move to China to claim Chinese benefits. You are supposed to protect yourself in our republic. SORRY nobody told you.

  10. I read in ADN that some of the homeless are complaining that there are no towels at the campground and it’s noisy.

    That’s terrible.

  11. Black Bears, (Ursus americanus) are found through out most of Alaska. The range of Black Bears is prohibited on islands with high Brown Bear concentrations such as the A B C Island group in South East Alaska, Black Bears flourish in places not inhabited by Brown Bears. There is a common misperception that Black Bears are less dangerous to humans than are Brown Bears. Nothing could be further from the truth. Famed Alaskan Bear guide of days gone by Ralph W. Young, who was in on some 700 bear kills was of the opinion that Black Bears were smarter, tougher and more intelligent than their bigger cousins. Many with experience amongst Bears concur with Young’s learned opinion.

    Think of Black Bears the same way you would think of Norway Rats, only bigger and more intelligent. Once a Black Bear has discovered that humans are both providers of food and easy prey they are beyond redemption. Sorry it’s just a fact. Killing problem bears is the only remedy. Relocating problem bears to another location merely puts the bear in question into a stressful and more dangerous environment.

    Gaining knowledge of how the World really operates is the first step one must take before trying to “fix” the problems before us. In the mean time, in order to protect our fellow citizens from harm we should keep snuffing problem bears. Good Job Mayor Bronson!

  12. Common sense camping means not to keep ones trash/food inside of tents.

    I am mad whenever bears are killed because of people’s stupidity or lack of common sense. If you fail to secure your trash in any part of Anchorage and a bear gets into it, you can be fined.

    If bears are dangerous, then they should be killed, but they should not be killed because of irresponsible people

  13. Interesting as many of the so-called homeless are Natives. First thing the old Natives did at their summer fishcamps was kill local bears to protect the kids. Let them do the same on the local bears here. After all, they know more about the woods pigs than any “expert” here in Anchorage. They know bears and humans don’t mix!

  14. Good title!

    Paul warned about these “ungrateful,’ “not lovers of good” people:

    “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” – 2 Tim. 3:1-4.

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