Dredge Lakes Area trails reopens after Friday bear attack

  • By Juneau Empire
  • Monday, July 3, 2017 3:18pm
  • News

The Dredge Lakes Area trails were reopened to the public Monday after a three-day closure prompted by a bear attack.

The U.S. Forest Service closed the Dredge Lakes Area trails due to a black bear incident early Friday morning in which a man and his dog were attacked by a sow black bear defending its cubs.

There have been several bear incidents in the Dredge Lakes Area this month, Forest Service spokesman Paul Robbins Jr. said in a press release. Dogs off leash and female bears with cubs were common factors in all of the incidents, Robbins said, adding that female black bears will protect their cubs, and act aggressively toward dogs and humans if they are harassed.

“The Alaska Department of Fish & Game and Tongass National Forest staff spent time over the weekend searching for the bear involved in Friday’s incident, in order to assess the female’s behavior and overall bear activity in the area,” Robbins said. “No bears were observed during this period, but bear sign was detected, indicating bears are still active in the area.”

Dredge Lake Area trails are popular with locals and visitors, and are used heavily by bicyclists and dog walkers.

“Currently, several female black bears with cubs are frequenting the Dredge Lakes and Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center area,” Robbins said. “Bears are drawn to the area by food availability, including the Steep Creek sockeye salmon run. The presence of people and dogs near an important food source can put bears on edge, especially sows with cubs.”

“If you do use the Dredge Lakes Area trails, please control your dog(s) while in the area,” he added. “We recommend that you keep your dogs on a leash when in the area, stay on the main trails when possible, do not approach or allow your dog to approach or chase bears, travel in groups and make noise to alert bears, and stay alert. Signs with this information are posted at the trailheads.”

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