Westside residents and businesses reminded to "Be Bear Smart, Do our Part"

Share this page:

It's that time of year when bears start to wake up from their winter hibernation. And that means it's time for us to remind residents and businesses to be "bear aware." A new City ordinance went into effect March 1, 2020. It requires 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.

Bear Management Area Map

How to comply with the new ordinance


person locking bear resistant trash can

Bear resistant trash can

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


“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.

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."    

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. 



Subscribe to City News

Get a weekly update of news, events and upcoming public meetings from the City of Colorado Springs.