Bears are awake, looking for food

A black bear in Cordova in 2018, a year when bears has an especially high presence in town. Photo courtesy of Milo Burcham

As spring snows melt and people begin hiking, U.S. Forest Service officials are reminding everyone to be on the lookout for hungry bears awakened from hibernation who are out looking for food.

Their message is to stay bear aware and give the bears plenty of space.

Here are some guidelines for spring travel in the Tongass and Chugach national forests:

  • Avoid surprising bears. Making noise in situations where bears might not easily hear, see or smell a person in advance can reduce encounters.
  • Travel in groups, when possible.
  • Keep dogs on a leash. Off-leash dogs may meet up with a bear and bring it back to their human.
  • Never run from a bear! Be sure to give them plenty of space.
  • Carry bear deterrent and keep it readily available.
  • At home, secure trash bins and pet food and bring in bird feeders for the season.
  • When out hiking or camping in Alaska’s National Forests, be sure to use bear safe canisters for food and supplies that have scents.