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Bear regulations on hold

Aspen Times staff report

Pitkin County won’t have an ordinance in place requiring bear-proof trash containers until next bear season.

The county commissioners approved the ordinance on first reading Wednesday, but put off a public hearing and final vote until Oct. 25. Solid waste manager Miles Stotts told the board he wanted to meet with waste haulers and get their thoughts on such things as the design of containers before the final vote.

The commissioners originally intended to pass the ordinance as an emergency measure, but they removed the emergency status Wednesday.

The county’s bear-protection ordinance will only regulate trash handling and storage and won’t be as detailed or as long as ordinances adopted by Snowmass Village and the city of Aspen in recent years.

But the commissioners told county staff in an earlier work session on the subject that they want it to have enforcement language that will get the attention of lazy citizens. They agreed the first offense should get a warning, the second a $350 fine (approximately the cost of a bear-proof container) and the third offense a $1,000 fine.

The proposed regulations don’t deal with pet food, barbecue grills, bird feeders or hummingbird feeders, though they sometimes, too, can attract bears. As Division of Wildlife sources have noted, 90 percent of bear problems result from improper handling of garbage.


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