Glenwood also battling bear problem |

Glenwood also battling bear problem

Donna Gray

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” Wildlife officers appealed to the Garfield County Commissioners Monday to require bear-proof trash containers where hungry bears have been a nuisance.

Colorado Division of Wildlife officer Sonia Marzec said bears have become a problem in areas such as West Glenwood where people leave garbage out to be picked up at the curb. The smelly trash proves too much of a temptation for bears, she said.

“We’ve had continuing problems with bears and trash there,” she said.

The bears are no dummies. They know what day the trash is picked up and hit the containers the night before, Marzec said.

West Glenwood is outside of city limits. But Glenwood Springs has a bear-proof container ordinance in place.

The Elk Creek subdivision in New Castle has also had its share of trash bears, so much so that the Division of Wildlife was forced to kill three of them last year. The Four Mile and Three Mile areas are also places where humans and bears have had conflicts. Recently a bear broke into a home on Three Mile, and the homeowner killed it, Marzec said.

Bear-proof containers can be pricey. Local trash companies can provide various sizes from Dumpsters to individual home containers. There are also a number of local companies that sell them.

The containers are made of heavy-duty steel and have a special latch that requires reaching up under a covering to release it, a maneuver difficult for the paws of a bear.

Marzec said the ordinance they hope the county adopts would work in progressive steps. The first step would require that trash be set out only on the day of pickup and only be outside between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. If a bear gets into someone’s garbage, that person is issued a warning. A second offense would require the person to purchase a bear-proof container.

But containers would be required only in areas where a bear was proving to be a trash problem, she said.

Similar ordinances are in place in Pitkin County and its towns.

“I think at some point an individual who lives in bear country has to take responsibility,” said Garfield County Commissioner Tresi Houpt, who lives off Four Mile Road. She said the homeowners in her subdivision agreed to purchase bear-proof containers.

“It made a huge difference” in problems with bears, she said.

Vail Daily, Vail, Colorado

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