Crime Stoppers Tip: Citizens urged to ‘bear’ responsibility |

Crime Stoppers Tip: Citizens urged to ‘bear’ responsibility

Bearing responsibility

If the community of Steamboat Springs wants the pleasure of wildlife in our community, then it is incumbent upon us to make sure the wildlife is safe and respected. City Council, at the request of the community, recently revised and approved changes to ordinances pertaining to refuse storage requirements and feeding wildlife.

Bear in mind

This is a community-driven change aimed at striking a balance between wildlife and human needs. You can make a difference. Be smarter than your average bear. Expanded enforcement and stiffer fines will not change the bears’ behavior. Only the community acting as a whole can prevent and deter bears from getting into trash. Educate, teach and work for a common goal.

Bear necessities

• Make your regular “resistant” container bear “proof.”

• Use additional tie downs (usually takes three to completely bear-proof a trash can)

• If you must store your container outside, use tie downs and store behind fence or in between area that is difficult for bear to access.

Freeze you edible trash. Dedicate a grocery bag and place all edibles in the freezer until trash pick-up day. This will prevent bears from being attracted to the smell of your trash.

Place edible trash (hopefully a frozen bag by now) beneath yard waste, pet waste.

Educate friends, family, parents, neighbors and especially people visiting or people new to the area.

Take the initiative and clean up a random piece of trash (like an empty package of meat from the grocery store) even though it is not yours.

Bear minimum

Residential customers:

• Residential refuse customers must have a wildlife resistant refuse container if the container is left outside. Resistant refuse containers have clips or latches that, if latched properly, prevent magpies, dogs and small wildlife from opening the lids.

• If the container is broken into by bears or other wildlife, the container will need to be upgraded to an approved bear “proof” container.

• Residential customers may leave their refuse containers curbside only between 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. on their trash pick-up day.

• Residential owners or the owners’ agent will be held liable for non-compliance of the ordinance. This includes vacation home rentals that utilize residential service.

Residential fines schedule: $250 first offense, $500 second offense, $750 third offense.

Commercial customers:

• Industrial containers must be bear proof with lids, locking bars, and the bar must be secured with lock, clip or similar devise.

• If the container is not secured than the customer may incur the fine.

• If multiple businesses “share” an industrial container then the owner of the property or the owner’s agent (management company, HOA) will incur the fine and consequences.

• If the industrial container was properly secured and still breached, then an upgrade will be required.

Commercial fine schedule: $250 first offense, $500 second offense, $750 third offense.

Bear essentials

No new or revised ordinance will alter the bears’ behavior: they are looking for food plain and simple. Abundant food sources alter the bears. In some places bears will not hibernate if food is available year round. Bears have more cubs when food sources are plentiful.

Enjoy the wildlife that living in Steamboat affords, but please do your part to ensure wildlife can exist around us. Steamboat without bears would be unbearable.

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