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Bear trash ordinance takes effect soon — are you ready?

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A bear peeks out of a dumpster west of Trinidad in 2001. - MICHAEL SERAPHIN, COLORADO PARKS AND WILDLIFE
  • Michael Seraphin, Colorado Parks and Wildlife
  • A bear peeks out of a dumpster west of Trinidad in 2001.

——-UPDATE FRIDAY, FEB. 21 AT 7:10 A.M.——-

City spokesperson Kim Melchor contacted the Indy to clarify that the city seeks voluntary compliance with the ordinance.

"We ask the public’s patience as neighbors work to comply with this new ordinance, Neighborhood Services Manager Mitch Hammes said in a quote provided by Melchor. "You may 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.

——-ORIGINAL POST WEDNESDAY, FEB. 19 AT 10:44 A.M.——-



If you live on the Westside, be prepared to comply with a new trash management ordinance that takes effect March 1 — or bear the consequences.

Colorado Springs City Council unanimously approved the bear-resistant trash ordinance back in October. It applies to most areas west of Interstate 25, where native black bears tend to visit.

According to the city, homeowners, renters and businesses must comply with the ordinance by:

• Securing their trash in a garage, shed or other secure structure. Trash bins should only be outside of the secure structure on trash collection days from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. The majority of homes will already meet this requirement with standard practices.
• For those who cannot store their trash in a secured structure, they will need to obtain a bear-resistant trash can. Certified bear-resistant waste containers can be provided by your trash collection company, or you can purchase your own certified containers.
This practice applies to all properties and zoning designations within the Bear Management Area to include single-family residential, multi-family residential, commercial, and industrial uses. Recycle bins do not have to be bear-resistant.

Violators could face fines of $100 for a first offense, $250 for a second and $500 thereafter if they don’t use bear-resistant trash cans or put out their waste before 5 a.m. on trash collection day and take in the container by 7 p.m.



The ordinance allows a resident to appeal a citation in certain circumstances.

The goal is to reduce confrontations between bears and humans, and to reduce bear euthanizations in Colorado Springs resulting from those confrontations.

A Durango study funded in part by Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) found that the number of conflicts between humans and bears could be reduced by more than half when residents used bear-resistant trash containers.

Many regional mountain towns, including Palmer Lake and Manitou Springs, have similar ordinances.

If you see a bear near your home, try to scare it away by yelling, blowing a whistle or clapping your hands, CPW recommends. Never approach a bear.

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