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City Council passes ordinance requiring bear-proof trash cans

Bear proofing you home
Posted at 5:15 AM, Oct 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-30 10:25:06-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — The Colorado Springs City Council made its final vote Tuesday that will require residents on the west side of the city to have bear-proof trash cans. Residents west of I-25 will be required to get bear-proof containers, keep trash or perishable waste inside, and limit times when trash is put out.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife said they expect to seek grants to help low-income residents buy the trash cans. The City Council made the first unanimous vote on the matter on Oct. 8 to help move this measure forward.

The ordinance was designed to decrease the number of human-bear interactions in Colorado Springs.

According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, 30 bears were euthanized in El Paso County due to interactions with humans.The ordinance would take effect starting in March of next year.

There are too many bear verses human encounters happening in Colorado Springs. according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Area Wildlife Manger, Frank McGee.

The law requires anyone living west of I-25 to either use bear proof garbage cans or keep their garbage secured inside until 5:00 a.m. on their garbage day. "It's a hard one, said Colorado Springs City Council, President, Richard Skorman, “You know we don't want to be too prescriptive as a government, but a lot of communities have required bear proof garbage cans.”

Research and data shows garbage left out overnight is a major factor within the issue of bears attracted into urban areas. "Once they get habituated, then they start to behave a little bolder and maybe they enter the residence and once that happens that bear is going to be euthanized because they're considered a danger," said Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region, CEO, Jan McHugh-Smith. One of worst years was 2017 when 30 bears were euthanized.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife has done research on the issue by tracking bears. The watched activity in an area where the was an education only campaign trying to get people to better understand why they need to secure their garbage. They also tracked an area where bear proof garbage cans were required. The number of bears dropped in the area with requirements. “It’s a significant reduction in those conflicts,” said McGee. The area with education only, showed no change.

You can look at the bear management area map here .