This is an unusual bear year; more bears, more cubs, more destruction to personal and commercial property. We’re afraid. Walking in town is risky without an air horn or bear spray. Trails are often iffy due to bear kills.

I think Haines can do better coping with the bears. The Haines Borough should hire someone to assist the community to proactively and safely live with bears.

I spend a lot of time working at a local apartment complex downtown, often spending the night. One dumpster has a steel top. One has a plastic top. One dumpster is supposed to be for recyclables, one for garbage. There are no signs and the two are often mixed. There seems to be no regular day for garbage or recycle pickup, so apartment residents, if they do have garbage with attractants, don’t know when it’s best to set it out. Both dumpsters are easily accessed by bears when smelly, leftover food is deposited in tied bags. The dumpster with the plastic lid has a loose chain across the top, but it’s loose and sometimes people forget to re-latch it. The steel lidded dumpster is easily lifted by bears, which I witnessed three times this summer. A fat bear feasted on leftover Mexican food, a birthday cake, etc., and he was tough to scare away. What a mess and a danger to everybody.

Let’s be part of the solution and hire someone to help us safely store food and garbage, for us and the bears.

Suzanne Vuillet Smith