Alaska Notebook: A Well-Behaved Visitor  

Black bear eating dandelions ©Melinda Webster

A cold south wind was blowing off Westchester Lagoon that evening, and it was time for me and my out-of-town guest to stop ogling the Chugach Mountains and start pedaling our bikes home.

As we approached Fish Creek estuary on the coastal trail, a passing biker shouted: “There’s a black bear ahead, and it’s pretty agitated!”

This is way too cool. I thought. I’ve lived here 24 years and I’ve never seen a black bear in my neighborhood. After just two days in Alaska, my friend is getting the treat of a lifetime.

Up where the coastal trail runs along the back yards of Anchorage’s rich and famous; we heard a commotion. The teenaged bear was making good time, running across the back lawn of one mansion headed toward town.

Following on the paved trail was Rick Sinnott, the Fish and Game Department’s official baby-sitter for wayward urban wildlife.

The bear had just come past Lyn Ary Park while a little League game was under way, but he didn’t stop to disrupt proceedings. Earlier at Point Woronzof, the bear had found a temporarily unattended day pack and helped himself to a sandwich.

Aside from that, Sinnott said, “he was pretty well-behaved.”

Contributed by Matt Zencey.
This essay first appeared in the Anchorage Daily News, adn.com. Reprinted with permission.