The bears are awake — secure your trash | PostIndependent.com

The bears are awake — secure your trash

This bear was up a tree in Glenwood Springs this week.
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Spring has returned to the Roaring Fork Valley and with it, too, have the bears.

After sleeping all winter, they are hungry. Glenwood Springs Police Chief Terry Wilson warns that anybody with trash that is not secured will be ticketed.

“They’re up and active, and so are we,” he said of the bears’ return to Glenwood Springs. “We’re on the hunt and will start issuing tickets.”

In 2015, Glenwood Springs passed an ordinance making it unlawful “for any person, place of business or occupant of premises within the city to store or permit the accumulations of garbage, refuse or trash, including recyclables, that is attractive to or edible by animals or wildlife.” In addition, bird feeders must be suspended or mounted out of the reach of wildlife other than birds between April 15 and Nov. 15. A first offense nets a $50 fine, while a second offense could cost $500, unless a violator can provide proof of purchase of a wildlife-resistant trash container.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife District Wildlife Manager Dan Cacho said that bears are already starting to get into people’s trash in town and recommends that residents cut down on attractants such as pet food and accumulations of trash.

“About this time every year the bears start waking up,” he said. “They can still tip over trash cans secured by bungee cords, and if they become accustomed to getting into trash, they are going to come back. It’s always a good idea to encourage them to stay up on the mountains as much as possible.”

Cacho explained that these animals become habituated when they learn there is food for them to eat in town, after which point it’s hard to get them to stop.

He suggests that homeowners avoid attracting hungry bears by keeping garbage secure, not leaving pet food outdoors and taking down bird feeders.

Black bears, Colorado’s only species of bear, can vary in color and have been known to get into people’s homes.

Recreationists, residents and visitors are reminded to contact Colorado Parks and Wildlife or call 303-86​6-3437 to file a report of injured or problem wildlife. A fact sheet on bear proofing your home can be found on the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website, http://cpw.state.co.us/.

Call Garfield County dispatch, 970-625-8095, or the Colorado State Patrol, 970-945-6198 if you see a bear in your area.