Be Bear Aware!

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Wildlife Conservation Community Program - WCCP
The Seward Wildlife Community Conservation Program has been a driving force in addressing bear problems in the Seward area. From 2008 to 2010 the WCCP provided hundreds of bear resistant garbage cans (BRGC) to area residents. See below for more details.
Now (at WCCP request) the City of Seward and Alaska Waste are leasing BRGCs for just $2.00 a month. This is a fantastic deal since the full cost to buy a BRGC is over $300. Call Alaska Waste at    lease a BRGC as part of your garbage collection service.
In 2012 the Seward WCCP presented several recommendations to the City that were aimed at reducing food reward for bears in residential yards. We were very impressed when the City adopted all of these recommendations. Here are the actions that Seward has recently taken:
  • Encouraged Alaska Waste to lease BRGC at an affordable rate.
  • Encouraged Alaska Waste to make bear resistant dumpster lid available upon request.
  • Reduced the monthly collection rate on the large 96 gallon BRGC
  • Updated the City ordinance to make it easier for law enforcement to work with land owners as well as renters.
The City of Seward and area residents can be proud of the progressive way we have dealt with bear issues. A Alaska Dept. of Fish & Game biologists often refers to the steps we have take as a national model of how to properly address bear issues.

If all bears behaved this way
you wouldn't need a bear-resistant garbage can

kamilleWCCP Sign with Alice
Local artist Kamille Sparks provided this illustration to remind the community of the importance of not feeding bears. Her illustration (with minor modifications) is posted in several places around town

This program creates and enhances a safe coexistence between wildlife and people living in and around Seward. The program’s goal is to proactively prevent bear-human conflicts due to improper disposal of garbage in household, business, and recreational areas. We promote the use of bear-resistant garbage containers, provide public information and educational programs, and encourage strong civic partnership throughout the Seward community. The 2008 to 2010 WCCP had following tangible results:

*Safer neighborhoods.
*Less time and money spent dealing with nuisance wildlife in our community.
*Responsible public stewardship of our wildlife resources.
*650 bear-resistant garbage cans have been provided to residents at a quarter of their actual cost.
*25 bear-resistant dumpster lids have been provided in areas where bears are a repeat problem.
*11 “park setting” metal BRGC’s have been provided to the City at a quarter of their actual cost (there's one at the waterfront playground).
*Over 8,000 issues of the informative “
Living In Harmony with Bears” booklet was mailed to all Seward and Moose Pass mail boxes in the spring of 2008 and 2009.
*Eight locally-designed WCCP signs (provided by Seward Public Works Dept.) have been mounted around town declaring Seward as a Wildlife Conservation Community

Thanks to our partners!

RBCA extends its thanks to our WCCP Partners: US Fish and Wildlife Service (provided $108,150 in grant funding), Conoco Phillips (provided $35,000), Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska SeaLife Center, Chugach National Forest, the City of Seward, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and Alaska Waste. Alaska Waste deserves special mention, since they have repeatedly donated funds and manpower to support the Seward WCCP.

Some tips on how to keeps bears out and garbage in

Residents and Visitors:
*Store garbage and animal food inside secure buildings or in bear-resistant garbage containers (BRGCs) e.g., bear resistant (poly) plastic garbage cans, or steel barrel or drum with a locking lid.
*Put garbage out the morning of pickup. If you take your garbage to a collection site, do so regularly and make sure to place it inside the dumpster and close the lid.
*Remove bird feeders between spring and fall (April - October) and clean up uneaten food and seed hulls each spring when you put your feeders away.
*Keep pet, horse, and domestic animal feed, meat scraps, and fish in a secure place or container.
*Store your barbecues in a protected place and burn off grease after each use.
*Keep domestic animals where they are safe. Chickens and rabbits in outside pens are attractive prey. Place your garden in the open, away from cover and game trails.
*Avoid composting anything a bear might like to eat (fish, meat, seaweed, etc.)
*Use electric fences to keep bears out of gardens and compost piles, and protect cabins and domestic animals.
*At vacation or weekend cabins, keep your garbage in BRGCs and take it home with you.
*If there is a bear in the neighborhood, let people know. Work together to protect your neighborhood and to conserve wildlife.
*Berry pickers: be alert and take frequent breaks to scan your surroundings. Talk or sing. If you see fresh scat move on to a new patch. Pack out everything you bring in.
*Hunters: keep a clean camp; only shoot game animals that you can carry out field dressed or boned the same day. Avoid overnight field caches. Please make sure that gut piles are well away from roads and trails.
*Fishermen: keep stringers & belongings with you, bleed fish into the water immediately, cut carcasses into small pieces and toss all fish waste into deep fast moving water.

Or make your own

Juneau has a "Living With Bears" program that includes suggestions on how to build a bear-resistant enclosure. The following information is borrowed from their comprehensive website.
Build Your Own Garbage Storage Unit

  • If you do not have the luxury of keeping your garbage cans in a garage or shed or other fully enclosed sturdy structure, here are some ideas for how to build an enclosure for your cans and a pdf print out sample:
    • Minimum of 5/8 inch plywood; 2 x 4 construction; use screws instead of nails.
    • Heavy duty hinges and latches strong enough that they cannot be pried open by claws.
    • No seams that claws can get into (use metal flashing to cover seams).
    • Secured so it can't be tipped.
    • If you can get into it without using your hands-by jumping on it, kicking it, using your shoulders-then it isn't bear resistant.
  • Publication - "Tips on Garbage Storage" (pdf)
    One side contains tips, the other side contains drawings of how to build a bear-resistant container.
  • multiple-can-enclosure.jpgaccessible-from-street-enclosure.jpg
  • Matching design enclosure.JPGWood enclosure with shingles.JPG

More info

For information on Bear-Resistant Food Containers, visit the
ADF&G website.
Audubon Society "Living in Harmony with Bears"

Articles in the Seward Phoenix Log:
Roadside signs, booklets part of living with nature June 24, 2009
Keeping wildlife and garbage apart June 4 2009
Smarter than the average bear May 29, 2008
"Staying Safe in Bear Country" & "Living in Bear Country" in DVD / VHS For loan @ ADF&G offices, Seward Public Library and available for purchase online.

Please remember!
Garbage, human & pet food, bird feed, fish and meat scraps all can be food for bears.