City and Borough of Juneau
155 S. Seward Street
Juneau, Alaska 99801
tel. 907-586-5240
fax 907-586-5385

Living with Bears in Juneau - City And Borough of Juneau

No Bears!


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Click here for a printable version of a pamphlet
about how to avoid conflicts while living with bears in Juneau.

The people of Juneau have experienced recurring conflicts with bears in our community. The city is surrounded by prime black bear habitat and it isn't uncommon to see bears wandering through town. Juneau residents treasure the natural surroundings in which we live:  we live in bear country and we feel lucky to do so.

Because we understand our responsibility to the wildlife whose home we share, our community was among the first in the nation to enact local laws aimed at keeping bears out of garbage.  As we continue to refine laws and practices, Juneau is becoming a model for other communities committed to living in harmony with wildlife.

CBJ Garbage Ordinances in Effect

Juneau residents have long been asked to try to keep garbage away from bears. Now, local ordinances (in effect year-round) offer that little extra incentive: you may be fined if you don't!  Expect  continued vigourous enforcement.  Below is a brief summary of relevant provisions:

  • All dumpsters containing putrescible waste must be fitted with a tight fitting metal lid or be behind barriers sufficient to deny entry by a bear.
  • 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.  That is
    • 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 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, a $50 fine for the first offense.

For the full text of relevant ordinances, click on "The Laws" page on the menu bar on the left of this page.

What do I do if I see a bear?

Juneau is prime black bear habitat and it isn't uncommon to see bears traveling through neighborhoods. A black bear passing through is generally not a threat. Black bears are rarely aggressive toward people and no serious attacks have ever been reported in Juneau. If given space, time, and the opportunity to retreat, most bears will wander back into the woods.

  • Is the bear eating natural foods and/or just passing through?
    If a bear is eating natural foods-such as berries or grass-leave it alone and give it time and space to leave. Unless the bear receives food rewards (garbage, dog food, birdseed), it will generally move on.
  • Is the bear climbing onto property?
    If the bear is climbing onto your porch or deck, encourage it to leave by banging pots or making other loud noises. After the bear leaves, remove any attractants.
  • Is the bear getting into garbage?
    If the bear is getting into your garbage, wait in a safe place--a car or house--until you are sure the bear has gone. Clean up whatever attracted it to your property, and keep trash cans inaccessible until the morning of pickup day. Don't give this or any other bear a chance to get another food reward.

A Fed Bear is a Dead Bear

  • Bears attracted to neighborhoods by garbage become problems for you, your neighbors (including kids!), and, eventually, for police.
  • It is your responsibility to keep your garbage away from bears.

Protect all of your neighbors--including bears--by keeping trash and other attractants away from bears.

Questions or comments?  Email us at

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