Bears return to Blue Lake | AspenTimes.com

Bears return to Blue Lake

Annie AddisonSpecial to The Aspen Times

They’re back, those crazy bears.But this time, instead of feasting on haute cuisine in the town of Aspen, they’re downvalley rifling through food in the Blue Lake subdivision. Jenny Codd, who lives on suddenly appropriately named Black Bear Trail in Blue Lake, saw a mother bear and her two cubs on June 13 rummaging around in her neighbor’s trash cans. “I heard our neighbor’s dog howling and I saw a cub in the middle of the street and it had a trash can knocked over,” Codd said. “It walked over to the neighbor’s across the street and just sat there looking at me.”Meanwhile, her neighbor said she saw a mother and another cub in her back yard.Codd dialed 911, which directed her to Eagle County, which sent over a sheriff with a paintball gun. “He said he just wanted to scare the bear away,” she said.Codd, too, wishes no harm to the bears, but she is concerned that the bears are coming down in the spring this year.”The bear I saw was really skinny. The sheriff said they’re coming down because there aren’t any berries out yet and they’ll leave when that happens.”Codd’s not so sure. “We’ve been here five years and it’s only been last year that the bears are coming down here. I think the new houses on Missouri Heights may be pushing them down.” A likely circumstance, said Randy Hampton, a spokesman for the Division of Wildlife. “There is plenty of rainfall this year, so we shouldn’t see bears coming down for lack of food. It’s possible a new development may have moved into its territory and the bear found a new source of trash.”Some Blue Lake residents have bear-proof trash cans, but most have trash receptacles provided by disposal companies.This is the second straight year that black bears have wandered the streets of Blue Lake. Last year, five bears roamed the streets. The bears showed up in the fall, scrounging food for winter hibernation. The sightings spurred many children to try and spy the bears munching on trash in garbage cans left out for pickup or snacking on nut-bearing trees on lawns.That is Codd’s main concern. “I’m worried about the kids, who don’t really know how dangerous bears can be.” Bear news is old news to Aspenites; each year bears come down from the hills, frequenting trash in alleys as well as food in homes. Pitkin County responded by installing bear-proof trash canisters four years ago.Is it time for Eagle County to do the same? “We’re all trying to be nice,” said Codd, who endorses bear-proof trash canisters. “But someone’s got to make a move. Who does it, I don’t know. Something’s gotta happen or it’s going to get crazy this summer.”