Blue Lake residents want solutions to deal with bears | AspenTimes.com

Blue Lake residents want solutions to deal with bears

Annie Addison
Special to The Aspen Times

Officials have recognized there’s a bear problem in the Blue Lake subdivision and are offering solutions.

Last fall, the Division of Wildlife alerted Blue Lake residents that there were five bears roaming the streets and rummaging through trash cans. This year, the bears have made their presence known a little earlier, having come down to snack from a trash can last week.

Jennny Codd, who lives on Black Bear Trail, said she recently saw a bear that had strewn trash all over the street. A mother bear and her cub were sighted not far away.

Codd, who favors bear-proof trash canisters, wants solutions before the bear problem gets out of hand.

But who is responsible for diminishing the bear problem? The Homeowners Association, individual homeowners, the trash disposal companies or Eagle County?

Jackie Tidd, who lives in an El Jebel trailer park and has seen a bear this spring, believes it’s the responsibility of Eagle County.

Recommended Stories For You

“Where did the permission come from to build in bear country? The county. They should take care of it. Last year they [DOW] stuck up a few notices about the bears but that’s about it.”

Tidd added that spending money on bear-proof canisters, although costly, is worth it. “If the food is gone, I think the bears will go. I don’t think the bears like being around us any more than we like being around them.”

The Blue Lake Owner’s Association, while not requiring residents to purchase bear-proof containers, does require residents put out their trash only on the day of trash removal; otherwise, trash cans must be stored behind fences or in garages.

Jerry Evans, president of the association, encourages the 345 Blue Lake residents to notify the association of bear sightings. If it gets to be a problem like it was last year, where a bear was in the garage alone with a 3-year-old girl, then it’s time to send out fliers to residents alerting them of the bear problem, Evans said. “We encourage bear-proof containers, but we have limited authority to enforce it.”

Eagle County has been ready to go on the bear issue, according to County Commissioner Tom Stone.

“Several years ago I was part of an effort to require bear-proof containers in new subdivisions,” he said. “We’re going to discuss this again at our meeting on June 21.”

However, he said such a requirement in existing subdivisions such as Blue Lake would have an “economic impact” on residents and trash removal companies.

“We hope to start an educational campaign on bears for all subdivisions,” Stone said, “because there is a lot homeowners can do to reduce the problem.”

Bonnie Crawford, who along with her sister Adele, owns the El Jebel trailer park, believes education is more effective than bear-proof containers. She believes it’s up to individuals to discourage the bears.

“Human beings do stupid things,” Stone said. “So we encourage people to educate themselves or we’ll unknowingly end up killing the bears we want to protect. It’s not the bears’ fault; it’s the human beings fault.”