Throughout Seward, bears are tipping over garbage cans and finding many that conveniently pop open, allowing the bear to easily access the goodies and strew the rest all over the streets and alleys.
Some of these garbage cans are bear-safe cans with inoperable latches that have not been properly maintained with lubricants, or are bear-safe cans that are overloaded and not latched.
Most, however, are regular garbage containers that are not bear safe or secured in a bear-safe container rack.
Residents who wait to set out their garbage in these containers the evening before are providing food for the bears just as they are setting out on their nightly rounds. This is obviously not helpful, though was mentioned to me by several people.
It is illegal to feed bears, yet unsecured garbage is like setting up bear baiting stations up and down every alley and street. Sooner or later, that fed bear will be shot as a nuisance bear.
Seward City Code 14.05.035 requires containers or container racks that prevent spillage by bears. Violation of this section due to bear attractants is subject to a fine of $100 for each offense. The fine for the first offense only will be waived upon proof of purchase of lease of a locking dumpster, bear-resistant dumpster, or bear-resistant garbage can. In addition to the $100 fine, more than one violation will require the occupant and/or owner to purchase or lease a bear-resistant can.
Contact Alaska Waste at 907-283-9390 to find out about purchase or lease of a bear-resistant can. Home improvement stores in Anchorage also sell bear-resistant cans. Using operable bear-safe cans, using bear-resistant dumpsters, or storing garbage cans in a secure rack is cheaper than the fines, protects our wildlife and citizens, keeps our town clean, and is the legal and responsible choice.