A sign advising coyote safety is pictured on the Emergency Vehicle Access Road at the Juneau International Airport. (Courtesy photo | Scott Rinkenberger)

A sign advising coyote safety is pictured on the Emergency Vehicle Access Road at the Juneau International Airport. (Courtesy photo | Scott Rinkenberger)

Yes, that Wile E. Coyote airport sign is real

Airport officials hope humor makes warning stick

Scott Rinkenberger installed a sign near the airport looking to both keep people safe and to make them laugh.

Now, the Juneau International Airport is getting calls every day asking about the sign.

“I’ve kind of created a little bit of a monster,” Rinkenberger, the airport superintendent, said in an interview Wednesday.

The sign warns people about coyotes in the area of the Emergency Vehicle Access Road (EVAR), which is also a popular hiking and nature viewing area. While the sign tells people not to get too close to coyotes and not to feed them, it also gives a few not-so-serious attributes of coyotes: carrying a box marked “ACME,” being in possession of a catapult or dropping an anvil from a hot air balloon, for example.

Those attributes, of course, belong to Looney Tunes character Wile E. Coyote as the character pursues the Roadrunner. The sign has gone viral, with Juneau resident David Noon’s tweet with a picture of the sign getting more than 2,300 retweets.

Rinkenberger said the airport has been adding more signs along the trail, instead of putting all of the warnings and advice listed on one big sign at the start of the trail. Advisories like “pick up after your pets” or “call airport police if you see anything suspicious” have their own signs now.

Rinkenberger said he took to Google when he and his staff were putting the signs together, and found a very similar sign with the Wile E. Coyote references. Airport staff put the sign together, and the sign was then printed by the City and Borough of Juneau for about $100, Rinkenberger said.

He hopes the humor helps the warning stick in people’s heads, because coyote sightings tend to increase in the spring and early summer in the Mendenhall Wetlands near the airport.

“There’s always wildlife concerns about walking in the woods in Alaska, whether it’s wolves or bears or moose,” Rinkenberger said. “The coyote sightings are infrequent, but they occur. What we’ve found is, coyotes aren’t easily scared away.”

• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at amccarthy@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @akmccarthy.

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