Please pick your garbage up after you let the bears pick through it.
If you don’t, then someone else has to. Often that’s your neighbor, who becomes very familiar with you as a result of picking up your garbage. Your neighbor will know what prescription you take, what and how much you like to drink, whether you practice safe sex and whether you prefer Tide or All to wash your clothes.
That’s not all the neighbor will come to know about you; the list is endless, depending on whose garbage is laid out by the bears. And, it isn’t always your nearest neighbor who will learn these details. Sometimes, the bears drag garbage bags down the street and into other neighborhoods. Or your neighbor tells others in town what was found.
Most often something in the bag the bear tears open reveals who the garbage belongs to. Maybe not in every bag, but it isn’t that difficult to figure out whose garbage is whose. Garbage from homes where children live narrows the possibilities in a neighborhood. Other age and family makeups help to narrow it further.
If you don’t care enough as to what the community learns about you from your garbage, then maybe you would be concerned about the bears. Bears shouldn’t be into garbage, no matter how much they might like it. It is a danger to them to become dependent on it, and the situation creates a potential danger for the community, particularly children who might be playing outside or even just walking to or from home. Adults don’t want to encounter bears in the neighborhoods, either. When dealing with wildlife, it’s not always a foregone conclusion what they will do. Run off? Maybe. But maybe not.
... If you need help, your neighbors who pick up your garbage might be willing to lend a hand. It’s preferable to prevent bears delving into garbage than it is to clean up after they’ve been there.
Of course, if precautions aren’t taken, those unwilling to prevent all of the problems that can occur when it comes to bears being attracted to neighborhood garbage might encounter the law. Fines exist for continually disregarding the city’s plea to properly dispose of garbage and discourage bears from coming into town.
Fines shouldn’t be necessary. Calling authorities out to issue citations just increases the cost of government and takes the time of government employees who could be doing something else for the benefit of the community.
Instead of getting sideways with the law or the bears, just secure your garbage. If you don’t do that, or if you do and a clever bear outwits you, then please pick up your garbage.
It’s your garbage; it’s your responsibility.
— Ketchikan Daily News, July 12