City should play by its own bear rules
August 5, 2012
In light of the recent bear presence in Aspen, we are writing to report our observation of human activities in town. We have noticed that many homes and restaurants are in compliance with the city’s trash regulation.
In the West End, most of the houses have up-to-date, secure trash cans, which seem to have lowered bear activity in that neighborhood. However, despite this area’s success, what we found in other locations is not so encouraging.
For example, the Aspen Meadows Resort has had bear visits every night, leading it to stop its composting program. This is especially disappointing because the Aspen community should be encouraging environmentally friendly practices.
But perhaps the most shocking and disappointing discovery we encountered was that the city itself has replaced many of its bear-proof trash receptacles with ordinary trash cans. How can people be expected to abide by a law that the government itself chooses not to follow? We are told that this change was for human health reasons; however, we question whether there has been proper scientific testing to verify this assertion. We also would like to point out that attracting bears into town seems to be more of a health and safety concern than a trash can with a lid.
Another issue that has come to our attention is the abundance of crab apple trees in the Aspen core. During years of drought when native food sources are in short supply, these trees will inevitably continue attracting bears into our town. There are so many simple solutions to this problem, we are perplexed as to why the City Council has not taken action. Whether it be spraying the trees to prevent fruit growth or replacing them with an aesthetically pleasing alternative, we urge the city to make a change.
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It seems that most residents are doing their part to coexist with the environment, so we ask the city to do the same.
Eliana Mallory and Nick Silva