It’s time for Glenwood to grin and bear it | PostIndependent.com

It’s time for Glenwood to grin and bear it

John Gardner
jgardner@postindependent.com
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” The weather may not be acting like it’s springtime in the Rockies, but it is. And April and May are the months that bears emerge from hibernation.

“We’ve had a couple of bears in the Glenwood area already,” said Colorado Division of Wildlife Spokesman Randy Hampton.

According to Hampton, the most recent incident that wildlife officers responded to was in the Canyon Creek area, just west of Glenwood along the Interstate 70 corridor, the weekend of April 25-26.

Hampton said that it appeared that a black bear had some minor injuries, and that it may have been hit by a car, but that the bear seemed to be physically OK, so officers were able to relocate it.

“People are seeing them,” Hampton said. “But the big thing to remember for people living in bear country, which is the area around Glenwood Springs, is that they are going to start seeing bears.”

According to the DOW, male bears will emerge from hibernation first depending on weather and elevation. They start coming out in early to mid-April. If they don’t find green grass or new plant growth to eat, they might go back into the den. Females with cubs come out later, but they will all be out by May.

In communities located in bear country, like most of Garfield County, urban sprawl has compromised much of the bear habitat in the state. Most often bears will try and avoid contact with humans, however they will be attracted to places where people are in search of food.

The DOW asks that people take a few precautions to help avoid bear encounters this year.

However, Hampton said that it’s pretty hard to tell just how active bears are going to be.

“It’s touch and go from now until June,” Hampton said. “We really don’t know what the bear season is going to be like.”

He said that a few years ago, a late frost in June killed most of the berry crops in the high country and forced the bears further into neighborhoods in the Roaring Fork Valley to forage for food.

To keep bears out of trash cans, garages and homes, people should reduce the chance that bears will find easy food by removing attractants.

Once a bear finds food in a location, it becomes programmed to continue looking for food in similar places. If that location is near people, the desire for easy food will replace its fear of humans.

Leaving garbage out, even once, is a tempting invitation to bears. And the problem with eating available trash, is that the young bears will learn to look for food in trash cans rather than natural sources.

However, if a bear wonders through the community and does not find anything to eat, it will keep moving and go back out of town looking for natural foods such as seeds, insects, edible plants, nuts or berries.

The DOW says that changing human behavior and removing common attractants discourages bear visits that put both humans and bears at risk.

Contact John Gardner: 384-9114

jgardner@postindependent.com


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