Bears deserve our diligence
November 21, 2007
After reading your article, “Are there too many black bears?” (Nov. 15, The Aspen Times), I feel a profound disappointment with residents in Aspen, our own Division of Wildlife and law enforcement.
I have been a volunteer for the DOW’s Bear Aware effort for five years, and I understand the challenges facing those attempting to educate the public about coexisting with bears. It’s not an easy job, to be sure, but with stronger enforcement and a continued push for education, I believe the we can live with bears in harmony.
First, the consequence for keeping trash outside for more than a few hours must be considerable and perhaps escalate to something more than fines. Community service might be a good way to penalize those that are too rich and/or lazy to care about fines.
Second, use your volunteers to scour the neighborhoods and businesses and enable them to write warning tickets.
Third, make it easier for everyone to have bearproof containers, including residents and businesses, by implementing a rental or subsidized purchase program for these containers.
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Fourth, continue to provide education for both full-time residents and those coming in for vacations. Condo associations, hotels, restaurants, owners of rental property and other vacation-friendly businesses need to be completely on board with fliers in the rooms, a verbal reminder upon check-in, and Dumpsters that are bearproof.
Aspen, good luck and don’t give up on the bears. They deserve our diligence and care. I can’t imagine that a bear-killing spree will be good for business, either, so be careful what you decide to do.