Bears out and about again in Glenwood Springs
June 15, 2010
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Each year, as the calendar turns to June, the black bear population around Glenwood Springs becomes active. This year is no different, according to Glenwood Police Chief Terry Wilson.
“They are out and about,” he said. “And they are doing what bears do: They are seeking food.”
In the past couple of weeks police have received several reports of bears breaking into trash cans, especially in the neighborhoods near Red Mountain. The number of bear incidents in town have increased in the past couple of weeks, Wilson said.
“We are being visited probably every night now,” he said. “They are out and about, and it seems to be quite active in that area now.”
Hungry bears searching for food come into neighborhoods, attracted by trash cans. And despite a city ordinance adopted in 2008 that restricts trash receptacles from being placed on the curb the night before pickup, Wilson said that the practice still occurs.
“Some people are just convinced that it won’t happen to them,” he said. “We definitely get folks that don’t get the concept.”
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Glenwood residents are restricted from placing trash cans outside prior to 6 a.m. the day of trash pickup, according to city code, unless the resident has an approved wildlife-resistant refuse container. This includes all commercial dumpsters regardless if the containers are enclosed or not.
Trash cans other than the wildlife-resistant containers must also be picked up before 8 p.m. the day of pickup. All trash collections are required by city code to be picked up between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
Residents guilty of placing trash cans out overnight before pickup, in receptacles that are not wildlife-resistant, can be issued a ticket for providing a bear attractant, Wilson said. Residents will be given a written warning on the first offense.
On second offense residents could face a $500 fine, which could be waived as long as the defendant provides proof of purchase of a wildlife-resistant container on or before the defendant’s first appearance in municipal court.
According to Perry Will, area wildlife manager for the Colorado Division of Wildlife, this is the time of year when bears become active in town. But he said this spring has not been as bad as recent years.
“It’s probably less active than last year,” Will said. “But it’s picking up lately. It usually does in early June.”
Will said that the DOW has relocated about 20 bears from the Roaring Fork and Eagle valleys alone this spring. Seven of those were from the Roaring Fork Valley. The DOW currently has two traps set near Glenwood Springs, attempting to catch two bears considered to be a nuisance.
The DOW encourages people to be aware of the bears and stressed the importance of keeping trash containers locked up until the day of pickup.
“We don’t want to create problem bears,” Will said. “And that will help out.”
Despite the recent upswing in bear incidents, Wilson said people’s efforts in complying with the city codes and taking responsibility has helped to reduce the number of bear incidents.
“I think we’ve made progress with people understanding what attracts them,” Wilson said. Residents “doing some preventative work has had a huge impact.”