Are Beav’ trash cans a bear buffet?
BEAVER CREEK, Colorado ” While a year-old Eagle County law calls for “fully enclosed” trash cans with latching lids, Beaver Creek still has trash cans without lids that bears are regularly getting into.
Bears have ripped the liners out of the cans “dozens” of times this summer to get to the trash, said Tony O’Rourke of the Beaver Creek Resort Company.
The resort company says it’s modifying the cans to make it harder for bears to reach into them, but they aren’t moving to the latching, lidded cans that Vail and Aspen have.
The cans have domes, not lids, over the tops of the cans that allow for people to drop garbage into the cans.
Beaver Creek has become a hotspot for bear problems. Six bears have been relocated and one bear was killed after they caused problems ” such as breaking into homes in search of food ” in Beaver Creek. Last September, three bears were euthanized after they broke into homes.
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Division of Wildlife officials say bears are increasingly wandering into Beaver Creek because they are finding trash to eat.
Still, the green trash cans are considered compliant with the law, said Andy Jessen, the county’s code enforcement officer. Jessen said he has been ensured by Beaver Creek that the trash cans are approved by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, which is a key criterion for the county’s approval.
“They’re enclosed to the extent that a bear cannot get their paw in (to the trash),” Jessen said. ” … Technically I don’t think I would consider issuing them a ticket for what they’re doing now.”
Bears are able to rip out liners to spill out the trash, Jessen added.
Some residents say they’d like to see Beaver Creek use more secure trash cans.
“The bears can just reach in, which I’ve witnessed,” said Suzanne Hoffman-LeBlanc, a Beaver Creek resident.
Hoffman-LeBlanc said she’d like to see Beaver Creek move to fully enclosed, latching trash cans like the ones that are used in Vail Village.
Even if the cans are modified to prevent bears from reaching inside, the smell of food from the open cans could still attract hungry bears, she said.
O’Rourke said Beaver Creek will modify the trash cans, installing a 2-inch “lip” that will prevent bears from reaching their paws into the can. Beaver Creek tested the new design by putting pizza in a trash can overnight a couple of times, and bears were not able to get to them, O’Rourke said.
“We think this little modification we made, as simple as it is, is working,” O’Rourke said.
For many people, Vail’s latching cans are difficult to open, O’Rourke said.
“You can have a bulletproof can, but unless it’s people-friendly, you haven’t gained anything,” he said.
Division of Wildlife officials killed a bear in Beaver Creek last week after it broke into five homes. Six other bears have been relocated this summer. Three of those bears ” a mother and two cubs ” have found their way back to Beaver Creek from the Silt area.
Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 748-2929 or firstname.lastname@example.org.