Letter writer: Nightmare on Bear Street

Graphic by Lori Deaton

In the past four weeks, I’ve encountered seven bears in my Grove Park neighborhood. The first experience took place one afternoon as I was taking a walk around the GPI golf course.  A bear strolled into the street — right in front of me — as he was coming out of someone’s front yard. Eyeball to eyeball (and I’m 5 feet 5 inches), I was probably 10 feet from him.

I did everything wrong. I screamed, jumped up in the air and ran away. Luckily, he looked like a teenager, and he screamed and ran in the other direction, too. But, that was the beginning of my bear saga. I have had two other encounters almost that close up and had four bears — two different occasions — knock over my garbage.

So, I called the police. They referred me to the head wildlife biologist who is monitoring the Urban Bear Study. And, got an earful. For starters, did you know that 200 bears have been identified living in the Asheville city limits? Those are the ones they know about.

And, because our illustrious city leaders refuse to purchase bear-proof garbage cans, we now have the lovely distinction of having the fattest bears this side of the Mississippi. The biologist said, “Asheville bears weigh twice as much as their country cousins. A 1-year-old cub should weigh 70 pounds, but townie bears weigh close to 200 pounds.”

Also, bears don’t live in caves.The biologist also informed me that these city bears are living under bushes or in between houses. And, because our furry friends are so well-fed, I was told that fat bears don’t have to hibernate. He even told me that the humans think bears are cute and run in their houses to retrieve hot dogs to throw to them instead of honoring the fact that they are, in fact, wild animals.

No. I know what you are thinking — no one has been mauled or maimed. Yet. But this is a nightmare waiting to happen. As a result of the insane amount of overbuilding in our city, the ridiculous effort to bring people here to boost the economy, there is an animal-versus-human problem on the rise. And you know what’s going to happen, right? Soon as a bear hurts someone, the bears suffer. This is utter insanity.

— Allison Frank
Asheville

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29 thoughts on “Letter writer: Nightmare on Bear Street

  1. boatrocker

    1- Those ‘bear proof’ trash cans are anything but- trust me.
    2- when confronted by a black bear, do the Macarena
    3- good point in the last paragraph, yes bears will suffer if it results in but a single attack though they were here first
    4- our bears are overweight because evil omnivore humans do not for the most part offer vegan options in their garbage
    5-people who leave hot dogs, etc to feed the bears are positive proof of Darwin’s theory

    The police, in my experience won’t do anything unless the bear is inside your home- (The Castle Doctrine?)- The police usually direct you to call Animal Control who would tell you the same thing. Just make noise if you’re outside, on a walk, etc. I see hikers with bells on their walking sticks often near the Parkway.
    Believe me, this is also not a priority at all for developers.

  2. Phil Williams

    I can imagine the foofaraw that will follow a bear attack in our heavily populated area. A couple years ago, a kid was bitten (not fatally) by a black bear out near Fontana Lake – camping in a wilderness area that was supposedly set aside to be the bear’s home – and the National Park Service in their infinite wisdom and concern for wildlife, tracked down and killed the wrong bear. Even if they had killed the “right” bear, it still would’ve been wrong. If officialdom goes that far to protect and avenge people who are camping in a bear’s backyard, imagine the lengths they’ll go to protect idiots from themselves in the city and suburbs….

  3. bsummers

    There’s gotta be some way that those elitist City Council members are getting rich off of this. “Crackkk!!

    • HRH

      After reading that Charlotte’s booming housing market the article mentioned how landlords ‘don’t want low class tenants who have couches on their porches’ ! I emailed clown council to consider TAXING for this money making ‘privilege’ in this slack ass town! lol!

      • bsummers

        UM, not sure what you’re talking about Fisher. That’s got nothing to do with this letter.

        • HRH

          I understand that your relative comprehension may be fragmented. It’s ok. Sorry you cannot see the connection.

          • bsummers

            Leave my relatives out of it, Fisher Caudle. Your comment doesn’t seem at all relevant to the letter, is what I’m saying.

  4. bsummers

    As a result of the insane amount of overbuilding in our city, the ridiculous effort to bring people here to boost the economy, there is an animal-versus-human problem on the rise.

    It’s so obvious, isn’t it? Pass an ordinance that all tourists must be coated with honey upon arrival.

  5. Fin

    It’s dangerous here, you better move before your a victim. I heard there’s no bears in any other states, somehow it has to be Obamas fault.

  6. Cynthia Tomaszewski

    Human beings have invaded their environment!
    The fact is, they were here first!

    • The Real World

      I can think of quite a few locals we should export to thin the ranks.

      • boatrocker

        Are you volunteering, or do we just not get it?
        Delta’s ready when you are.

        • The Real World

          You never know. Delta has flown me many, many places.

          But, first I’d suggest exporting the pouty “the bears were here first” people. As if that statement make one iota of sense or offers any kind of solution.

          • boatrocker

            Good thing one can’t snap one’s fingers and make someone export away.
            My solution? Believe it or not, buy a six pack of cheap beer, drink it over the course of an entire night, walk (stumble?) outside and pee in a circle around your ‘bear proof’ trash can. Whatever is in human pee (Miller Lite seems to work wonders) keeps them away.

            For the record, that sadly does not work for Jehovah’s Witnesses, Charter Cable or similar wildlife.

  7. NFB

    “As a result of the insane amount of overbuilding in our city, the ridiculous effort to bring people here to boost the economy,”

    I wonder when the letter writer moved here.

  8. Bright

    Bear problem? Assville is hard at work incrementally removing trees and undergrowth to make way for progress, aka tourists. Just get more aggressive and remove ALL trees and shrubs! Bingo!

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