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Manitou Springs could require bear proof trash cans - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Manitou Springs could require bear proof trash cans

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Bear conflicts are on the rise in communities near the mountains, now one of those communities is trying to do something about it. Manitou Springs could soon be requiring bear proof trash cans throughout the city.

People living in Manitou have seen the problem, bears wandering around the neighborhoods or getting into trash spreading it all over the place. City council is now working with a local group of people to try and fix the problem.

"It's really a problem," said Rhonda Glover who used to live in Manitou Springs

"I think they're very important, those poor bears they need to eat good food," said Sarah Bryant who has been born and raised in Manitou.

People in Manitou Springs have seen the problem, now the Bear Smart Task Force is pushing city council to do something about it.

"It's more daunting knowing that the animals are coming into town to eat rather than in the wild where they're supposed to," said Cy Cushenberry, head of code enforcement and the man responsible for cleaning up the mess after bears feast on trash.

"Over the last couple of months I've probably received more than a hundred contacts via calls or emails regarding trash cans that have been dumped over," said Cushenberry.

After hearing a presentation this week city council asked the city attorney to write an ordinance for bear proof cans. The presentation included Colorado Parks and Wildlife. There is a test project in Durango where a section of the city has received bear proof cans and it's cut down on conflicts considerably. 

Parks and Wildlife had to euthanize two bears in Manitou.

"I've been through it with a bear getting close to me and neighbors that didn't take care of their garbage," said Glover.

Not taking care of garbage doesn't allow code enforcement to take care of other issues,"I respond to a lot of extremely important calls and these type calls take time away from my day and it takes resources away from the city," said Cushenberry.

The question now is who foots the bill?

"It's a good idea," said Bryant, "but some financial assistance for those who need it would be optimal."

There are grants that would help pay for a project like this. The other initial requirements would be keeping trash in a locked building or bear proof cans at all times except trash day.

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