County approves changes to bear-proof ordinance |

County approves changes to bear-proof ordinance

Aspen Times staff report

Pitkin County approved modifications Wednesday to a bear-proof trash container ordinance being drafted by county staff.Work on the ordinance was begun last year, prompted by numerous bear incidents around the county. The ordinance will regulate only the handling of garbage and won’t affect other factors which attract bears, such as bird feeders, barbecue grills and recyclable materials.But the ordinance will place the responsibility on trash pickup customers for keeping their garbage secure from bears and other animals. County Solid Waste Director Miles Stotts presented the changes to the County Commissioners Wednesday:-The ordinance will be in effect all year long.-Those who don’t leave their trash out overnight may set trash out for pickup in containers which are not bear-proof.-The ordinance now includes descriptions of standards for trash compactors, dumpsters and dumpster enclosures.-Citizens are responsible for keeping the area around trash containers and compactors clean.Stotts also discussed the problem of overfilled trash containers with the commissioners. An additional provision may be included, allowing residents 24 hours to correct a problem. If a trash can is overfilled and will not close, the typical remedy, Stotts said, is “mashing it down and closing the lid.”Kevin Wright, district wildlife manager for the Colorado Division of Wildlife, complimented Snowmass Village, Aspen and Pitkin County for taking a leadership role in bear-protection legislation at the local level.”People all over the country are looking at what you’re doing here,” Wright said. “It’s going to make my job easier, too.”The commissioners will take a final vote on the ordinance Feb. 28.The county’s Solid Waste Management Department has undertaken a project to make 30- and 60-gallon bear-proof polyester containers readily available to citizens. The containers are not available yet, Stotts said, but he expects them to cost about $100 to $120.If a trash can is overfilled and will not close, the typical remedy, Stotts said, is “mashing it down and closing the lid.”

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