It was with resigned relief that I read our county commissioners had authorized a grant increase to the Pauline S. Schneegas Wildlife Foundation ("County ups funding for rehabilitating bears," Wednesday, The Aspen Times).
Even though $3,000 is still a paltry sum, it is significantly better than the measly $500 that was initially being offered. However, simply throwing money at the problem will not eliminate the growing issue our valley has with regard to bear-human interface.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife, at last count, euthanized 28 bears in our valley this season due to the two-strikes rule. This does not include the number of bears killed by errant bullets or automobiles. It is for this reason that the Schneegras Wildlife Foundation's services are so needed. While our commissioners would like to see the foundation "seek other funding partners," it is the Roaring Fork Valley that gives the Schneegas Foundation the majority of its animals for rehabilitation and care.
If we, as a community, truly want to deal with the bear issue, we need to get serious about mitigation. This means all parties - Parks and Wildlife, city and county officials as well as the citizenry - working together to find and implement viable solutions to eradicate the problem.
We cannot continue to wrap a piece of yellow caution tape around this matter and hope it disappears.