On May 22, two cabins in the Ketchikan-Misty Fiords Ranger District of the Tongass National Forest were damaged by bears. Helm Creek Cabin was repaired and reopened on June 21 after one bear was killed. Helm Bay Cabin, however, will remain closed until at least October 1, according to the U.S. Forest Service, because the second bear has not been found.
The Forest Service has been working with the Alaska Department of Fish & Game to make sure the cabin is safe to repair and then reopen.
It is unclear whether the Forest Service or Fish & Game is in charge of making the decision to start repairs.
Paul Robbins, public affairs and partnerships officer for the Forest Service, said in an email that, quote, “Until our partner determines the bear situation is handled, our process for repair and re-opening will not begin.”
The Forest Service press release states that locating the bear may be difficult due to upcoming late summer salmon runs.
However, Boyd Porter, Fish & Game’s area biologist for Ketchikan, says the decision to repair and reopen Helm Bay Cabin is up to the Forest Service. He says Fish & Game is not actively looking for the bear, just monitoring the cabin to see if the bear returns.