New trash ordinance to reduce bear activity takes effect March 1
Garbage kills bears
Since 2017, 42 bears were euthanized as a result of frequenting residential and urban areas in the Pikes Peak region.
"Bears are smart and they learn quickly that city garbage is an abundant and reliable food source," said Frank McGee, Area Wildlife Manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife. "But a diet of garbage is terrible for bears and brings them into close proximity to people, which is dangerous for them and us.
"By securing our trash, we deny bears easy meals and discourage them from coming into town. We help keep them wild and alive in the forest, where they belong, not in someone's garage or the path of a car -- behaviors that can get them killed."
How neighbors west of I-25 can help
Beginning on March 1, a new City ordinance takes effect requiring residents and businesses west of I-25 to help make their areas safer for people and our bear population by securing their trash from bears.
How to comply with the new ordinance
Bears move into neighborhoods when trash is easily accessible, so we are asking people to take the extra step to make their neighborhood ‘Bear Smart'”.
Securing trash to discourage bear activity in neighborhoods can be accomplished by:
- Only setting trash containers on the street between 5 a.m. and 7 p.m. on trash collection days and storing them in a secured enclosure, such as a garage or shed at all other times
- Storing trash in a certified* bear-proof container
- There is no requirement to secure recycle bins
“The majority of residents will already meet this new requirement by merely waiting until 5 a.m. to set out their trash containers on trash collection days and returning them to their garage by 7 p.m.,” said Mitch Hammes, Neighborhood Services Manager for the City of Colorado Springs.
“We ask the public’s patience as neighbors work to comply with this new ordinance. You can contact neighborhood services if you have bear activity in your neighborhood due to unsecured trash and we will work to educate neighbors. Our goal is for people to voluntarily comply with the ordinance, however, continued non-compliance may result in fines,” Hammes said.
*For those unable to store trash receptacles during non-trash collection days, residents and businesses should contact their trash service provider to discuss options or purchase bear-resistant containers approved by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC).
For more information about the new City ordinance visit: www.ColoradoSprings.gov/bears.
Many Colorado communities, including our neighbors in Manitou Springs already have similar ordinances in place. It's time to do our part to preserve and protect our communities, share the land, and respect our wild neighbors.