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Bear Safety

Hi friends! When I was visiting the Alaska Botanical Garden today, as I was leaving, I overhead some folks walking to the gate of the Garden and reading the bear aware sign. One lady said, "oh, I don't know what we are supposed to do if we see a bear, but I think we are fine because of the fence". This is not the correct midset to have. The bears can climb over the fence and or, sneak under the fence. Bears are seen inside the Garden, multiple times, each season. The bears were there first and we try to peacefully coexist with them.

I'm not an expert in bear safety, but I use the information below and information from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game whenever I'm at the Alaska Botanical Garden or out on any other trails.

Some tips to keep in mind in bear country, and at the Botanical Garden, include:

1.) Be aware of your surroundings. Listen, look and, smell. Use all of your senses, don't be too focused on any one thing and don't hike with both ear buds in.

2.) Make noise as you go. You never want to accidentally sneak up on a bear. By making noise, such as talking, playing music or jingle keys or a bell, bears are more likely to hear you coming and go a different way.

3.) Never get between mom (sow) and baby (cubs).

4.) No eating in the Gardens. All food must be consumed in the nursery.

If you see a bear:

1.) Never run.

2.) If the bear sees you, act big (raise arms in the air, wave arms) and talk calmly to the bear.

2.a.) If the bear doesn't see you, slowly back away and give it space.

3.) Group together if you are with other people.

4.) Watch the behavior of the bear.

5.) Slowly back away if the bear is staying put.

6.) Make louder noise if the bear is approaching you.

7.) Have your bear spray of air horn ready to use.

8.) Stand your ground.

I always carry my bear spray on me and so do Garden staff. Bears shouldn't be feared, but respected and aware of.

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