Aspen Police get funding boost to deal with bears |

Aspen Police get funding boost to deal with bears

A problem bear in rummages in an open dumpster.
Aspen Times file

The Aspen Police Department has received grant funding to help with human-bear conflicts this year. 

“We are receiving $15,000 in grant funds, and the APD is contributing $10,000 additional funds to this effort,” said Ginna Gordon, community response officer supervisor.

“This money will be used to pilot our wildlife enforcement officer role this year that will be primarily focused on education, pro-active patrol, and enforcement of wildlife ordinances within Aspen city limits,” she said.

So far this year, there have been four incident bear reports as of May 11. At this time in 2022, there were a dozen incident reports. Gordon said the season is just starting, which means now is the time to make sure that you are taking the appropriate precautions to protect yourself and the wildlife.

“Tourist season is going to kick off. This influx of population means that the availability of many more attractants will be added to a bear’s temptation,” she sai. 

While nothing is bear-proof, there is some common sense that can applied to maintain a healthier cohabitation this spring and summer with bears, she said. 

Bears are extremely smart, and Aspen has lots of temptations — and lots of bears.

“Be smarter,” Gordon said. “Think about it. If you are grilling, clean off the grill, regardless of where you are. If you have bird feeders, bring them in during this time of year. Keep your trash secured, so it cannot be accessible to bears, clean out your recycle prior to placing it in a receptacle. Do your part to eliminate all attractants that would entice a bear.”

2022 was a busier bear year than most, with a spring freeze that limited the berry crop for the bruins. A nadir came in August when a mother and four cubs were euthanized after breaking into an Aspen home, creating an uproar among the public.

Residents in the Five Trees area said the bears had been frequent visitors for at least the two weeks until they died. Prior to the break-in, the bears had not posed problem, the neighbors said.

“Our No. 1 message: These situations are preventable,” CPW spokeswoman Rachael Gonzales said at the time. “The big message right now is talking about how these situations are preventable.”