Flowers bloom at the Jensen-Olson Arboretum in July 2018. The Arboretum is closed until further notice due to excessive on-site bear activity. The closure is expected to last approximately two to three weeks. Visitor access will not be allowed during this time and no exceptions will be made. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Flowers bloom at the Jensen-Olson Arboretum in July 2018. The Arboretum is closed until further notice due to excessive on-site bear activity. The closure is expected to last approximately two to three weeks. Visitor access will not be allowed during this time and no exceptions will be made. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Bears edge out humans at Arboretum

Ursine interest in the city’s botanical garden makes visits too dangerous

The Jensen-Olson Arboretum is closed until further notice due to “excessive” bear activity in the area, the City and Borough of Juneau announced Wednesday in a release.

Arboretum Manager Merrill Jensen closed the site to visitors, CBJ wrote, to preserve bear and human safety. The closure is expected to last two-three weeks, but a time frame for reopening the popular botanical garden hasn’t yet been set, according to CBJ.

Jensen, who has no relation to the Arboretum’s namesake, didn’t immediately return phone messages left at the Arboretum and with the Parks and Recreation Department.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game Area Biologist Roy Churchwell said Arboretum staff made Fish and Game aware Wednesday of an ongoing issue with a bear, which became a nuisance at the Arboretum by repeatedly going after berries planted on the grounds. Arboretum staff attempted to scare the bear off on several occasions by making loud noises and directing a leaf blower toward it, but those attempts were unsuccessful, Churchwell said.

The Jensen-Olson Arboretum is a nonprofit botanical garden that lies on city property. It celebrated its 10-year anniversary last year.

Updates will be posted to the Arboretum Facebook page, the CBJ Facebook page or juneau.org.


• Contact reporter Kevin Gullufsen at 523-2228 and kgullufsen@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @KevinGullufsen.


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