Glenwood jumps on bear enforcement | AspenTimes.com

Glenwood jumps on bear enforcement

John Gardner
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
A bear hangs out in West Glenwood on Monday evening. (Contributed photo)
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GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” The bears are out in Glenwood Springs and local police are spreading the word about the city’s new wildlife ordinance, aimed at preventing a repeat of last year’s numerous conflicts with bruins foraging in unsecured trash.

“We’ve issued dozens of notices on the new ordinance to residents about keeping it (trash) cleaned up before it becomes a problem,” Police Chief Terry Wilson said. “We’ve had a concerted effort on getting to that early.

The new ordinance allows police to issue citations to not only property owners, but renters and property managers, as well. Also under the new law, police will issue just one warning to violators before issuing a citation for a second offense, punishable by a fine of up to $500.

“We can hold property residents as well as property owners at fault,” Wilson said. “It’s given us an ability to deal with things more appropriately by being able to hold the right person accountable.”

So far, though it’s still early in the bear season, residents have been fairly receptive to the stiffer rules, the chief said. Trash containers that aren’t wildlife proof cannot be taken out prior to 6 a.m. and must be brought inside before 8 p.m. on the day of scheduled pickup.

“This year so far, we’ve not had any citations issued,” Wilson said. “We’ve had really good compliance from residents so far with this ordinance in place. But with strike two, you will get a citation.”

Residents who’ve received warnings in prior years are starting over with a clean slate, but Wilson hopes people won’t need to be warned with each new season before they comply with the law.

“We hope that we won’t have to do that,” Wilson said. “Hopefully, we address the situation and it will be taken care of.”

It’s new residents, unfamiliar with the habits of bears, who will need to be warned, said Colorado Division of Wildlife spokesman Randy Hampton.

“There are so many people that are new to the area that call us when they see a bear for the first time because they are not used to seeing them,” Hampton said. “And Glenwood is right in the middle of good bear habitat and they are coming out.”

It will take more than a beefed-up ordinance to reduce conflicts between humans and bears, Hampton added. It requires a combination of Mother Nature providing sufficient food sources and people doing what they should to “bear proof” their homes to help prevent problems.

“If Mother Nature does everything right, then we’ve got a fighting chance,” Hampton said. “But everyone needs to pay attention to the ordinances to help out.”

jgardner@postindependent.com


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