Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Grizzlies and Guns

The News-Minus reports this morning that a brown bear has made the mistake of wandering into a residential area around Mile 4 of Chena Hot Springs Road.

The young grizzly is one of two seen first on May 22nd. Its sibling was shot by a homeowner near the Fairbanks Golf Course when the bear was near a horse corral. I have to say, the way the FDNM story read, the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game guy sounded kind of bloodthirsty and pretty nonchalant about shooting the animals. In his defense, however, upon reading earlier articles, one gets the sense that both bears were getting pretty habituated to people and the ready supply of food present where most folks live. That sort of situation is bad for people and bad for bears.

Many of us live in what John McPhee called the 'wilderburbs' -- and while we are good about keeping a clean camp site when out on the land*, we don't continue those practices once we are back at our homes.

I've been pretty lax myself on keeping the CabinDwelling Compound clean enough for a bear presence. The Goldstream Valley, at least my neck of it, is a rabbit warren of cabins, trailers and such... and most of us don't really think about bears much. It feels very 'settled' there.

Until now. I've been told before that there are a few bears kicking around the GSV, but now I'm gonna be a lot more diligent about food and garbage.**

*Of course there are Noobies who don't know better, and folks who have lived here long enough who should know better.

**This may have something to do with an evening telling bear encounter stories with a group of my fellow ValleyDwellers. I think I heard one too many stories that involved a hungry bear breaking into a cabin. Nothing like a fresh dose of bearanoia!

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