New bear-resistant dumpster lids arriving in Cordova

City dumpsters in North and South harbors are fitted with new bear-resistant lids. Residents are asked to text the number posted on the side when it is full. Photo courtesy city of Cordova

Bear-resistant lids for city dumpsters have arrived at the Cordova refuse facility.

Crews are completing installations of the lids and are moving them into place as the dumpsters are completed.

“The city purchased enough bear-proof lids for all the dumpsters we have,” said Cathy Sherman, city public information officer, in an email. “The Refuse Division crew are at work putting them all together as time allows and then getting them out in the community.”

Two bear-resistant dumpsters are already in place at the South Harbor and North Harbor. These two dumpsters have phone numbers posted on the side asking residents to text the Refuse Department when they are full.

The city invested approximately $25,000 in the new lids.

The city is also applying for a grant to put an electric fence around the landfill, “to make it much more difficult for the bears to be habituated at the 17-mile landfill,” Sherman said.


During the 2018 bear season, 15 bears were killed in Cordova; nine by residents and six by government agencies. For the Cordova-Valdez unit, nearly 30 bears were killed last summer.

One of those incidents involved a black bear sow, known locally as “harbor bear.” The bear, who weighed close to 200 pounds, was shot on Sept. 8 by Alaska Wildlife Troopers after it was seen dumpster diving, swimming in the harbor, climbing onto boats and walking along the docks.

Questions or comments on the city’s effort to bear-proof waste should be directed to the Public Works Department at 907-424-6200.

New city dumpster lid in the locked position. The city of Cordova is retrofitting all dumpsters with bear-resistant lids in response to last year’s high rate of bears killed in 2018. Photo courtesy city of Cordova
New city dumpster lid in the unlocked position. Photo courtesy city of Cordova