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Bears causing trouble in Glenwood Springs

John Gardner
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Glenwood Springs Police Chief Terry Wilson has already had his fill with bears and trash cans this year.

“I think we did really well last year,” Wilson said. “However, we are not off to a good start this year and we’ve had, literally, reports in every neighborhood already of bears getting into trash cans.”

Police have run into several instances of residents placing full trash containers out the night before pickup, which is a violation of city code.

“Then the bear finds it and we have trash all over the streets,” Wilson said.

Wilson reminds residents to keep their trash containers in an area where bears are not likely to get at them, and not to place containers out for pickup prior to 6 a.m. the morning of service.

“Folks need to pay attention,” Wilson said.

Police have also taken calls about some local restaurants who have had bears get into their grease traps. He also said that there was recently an incident where a bear was reported on the roof of Factory Surplus on South Grand Avenue.

Wilson said that residents, and businesses, will be warned only once about leaving trash and other attractants for bears out at night. The second incident will result in a ticket, where people could face a fine of up to $500.

Wilson said that he’s spoken with the Colorado Division of Wildlife officials and that they’ve received a number of calls regarding bears as well. According to DOW spokesman Randy Hampton, they’ve not had an unusually high number of calls, but they’ve had their share.

Hampton said that it’s up to residents to do all they can not to attract bears.

“We think the bear situation should be easily contained with people doing the right things to help out,” Hampton said.

Several of the bear calls the DOW have responded to in the Glenwood area have involved ripening fruit, as well as trash. Hampton said that fruit at the lower elevations is ripening earlier than the natural food sources at higher elevations, which could be part of the reason that bears are finding their way into Glenwood this summer. Hampton said that picking ripened fruit will also help in keeping bears away.

“It’s really just a situation where we have more natural food available for bears than I’ve ever seen,” Hampton said.

However, Hampton explained, that an abundance of natural food will not keep the bears out of trash cans completely.

“We still have to remind people that bears will be around,” Hampton said. “[Residents] need to do what they can to not attract them.”

“We don’t want to get bears tagged as ‘troubled’ if we don’t have to,” Wilson said. “We need to do all we can to avoid putting them in a position where they become trouble.”

jgardner@postindependent.com


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