Bears seem to be staying out of Glenwood Dumpsters this year |

Bears seem to be staying out of Glenwood Dumpsters this year

Pete Fowler
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Post Independent/Kara K. Pearson

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” After a record-breaking amount of bear-human conflicts last year, people in Glenwood Springs and the surrounding area haven’t seen much of the bears yet this season.

Glenwood Springs Police Chief Terry Wilson said there have been some “scattered reports” of bears in the city this summer.

“We had some real early on and it’s actually quieted down,” he said. “It’s definitely less than last year and a heck of a lot less than the year before.”

Glenwood Springs toughened ordinances this year that target people attracting bears into the city by failing to take proper care of trash. Police can now issue a summons with a fine of $500 on the second warning instead of the third. The changes also allow police to hold people like renters and property managers accountable instead of being forced to track down and hassle property owners.

“It’s a $500 fine unless they have corrected the situation by getting bear-proof containers,” Wilson said.

But police haven’t had to utilize the tougher laws. Wilson said police haven’t issued a summons yet, except for possibly just one early on in the season.

“I think predominantly we got everything corrected that we’ve noticed by using it in the warning stages,” he said.

Rifle Police Chief Daryl Meisner said Rifle sees fewer bears than Glenwood and the city hasn’t seen any yet this year.

Numbers of bear-related calls or incidents so far this season were not available from the Glenwood Springs Police Department, Garfield County Sheriff’s Office, Garfield County Emergency Communications Center or Colorado Division of Wildlife.

In Basalt, a bear broke into a home and ate food in Willits on July 18. In Aspen, a bear entered a building at the Aspen Institute and left claw marks in a butter sculpture created by a visiting Tibetan monk in the following weekend. A bear reportedly made a bluff charge at a group of monks there around the same date.

Last year, the DOW euthanized 63 black bears in Colorado ” the highest number ever, said Randy Hampton, a DOW spokesman. But he said of human-bear related conflicts, “It’s been pretty quiet this year.”

Last year a late frost hurt the berry crop, causing bears to look for food from other sources. This year that hasn’t occurred, except for certain areas near Parachute, Colbran and Mesa, Hampton said.

“For the most part we have a very good crop this year so it hasn’t been a real big problem,” he said.

The few bear incidents early this season were probably caused by large amounts of snow preventing bears from eating grasses in the spring, he added.

Aspen sees the most bear activity in the area because it’s “in the middle of some of the best black bear habitat on earth,” Hampton said, but the Glenwood area faces a unique challenge because city ordinances don’t cover all of certain areas where people live like West Glenwood and No Name, and Garfield County has no trash ordinances pertaining to bears.

The DOW will relocate a “nuisance” bear once before euthanizing it, but it may euthanize bears that act aggressively toward humans without any strike or relocations.

Contact Pete Fowler: 384-9121

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