Jamie Pallotti: Let’s bear proof Steamboat
Anyone who reads The Record is aware that on an almost daily basis, from April through November, the Steamboat Springs Police Department is responding to calls about problems with bears. The vast majority of these complaints are about bears getting in garbage cans or dumpsters.
The police respond, the bears move on, the newspaper reminds people to secure their containers and we repeat this exercise the next day and the next ad infinitum. The cost to the city and to taxpayers is exorbitant.
I think it is time to consider requiring bear-proof dumpsters and containers for all residences and businesses within the city limits. The current policy requiring bear-resistant containers simply isn’t working.
Bear-proof containers are self-latching and reinforced to withstand any attempt by the bear to get in. At my home and my neighbor’s we switched from bear-resistant to bear-proof, and within a few days, our nuisance bear gave up.
The switch to bear-proof containers for the entire community would not be inexpensive. To continue on with business as usual is not inexpensive either.
Consider the hours the police spend dealing with nuisance bears instead of doing their primary job; the time Colorado Parks and Wildlife spends trying to trap repeat offender bears; the damage to numerous vehicles; the break-ins to homes, garages and businesses. It’s difficult to put a cost on someone getting seriously injured or killed, but that is bound to be a real cost of our current policy.
And finally there is a cost to the bears. How many repeat offender bears have been euthanized?
I would encourage the city to gather input from the police, CPW, the trash companies and other mountain communities.
We need to bear-proof Steamboat.
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