Rollin’s trash can passes the grizzly bear test
May 10, 2016
Steamboat Springs — A grizzly bear known as Kobuk the Destroyer clawed, chewed and pounced, but was unable to get a snack located inside Rollin Stone's trash container.
Stone, a Steamboat Springs welder, is now the creator of a container that has been certified as bear-resistant by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee. He has been working on the design since fall.
Stone traveled eight hours to take the container to the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone, Montana, to have it tested Saturday.
"It was nerve-racking," Stone said. "You don't know if you're going to succeed or fail."
Before the grizzlies got to attack the container, Stone visited what is known as "the graveyard," an area containing 30 or 40 containers that failed the test.
A female grizzly took the first crack at getting inside the baited container. Kobuk, who weighs about 650 pounds, kicked the female off about five minutes later and had his turn.
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"I'd be lying if I said I didn't soil myself when I saw him jumping on it," said Stone, who had to pay about $700 for the test.
Then, some of the smaller grizzlies tried to get inside. Instead, they dragged the container into the water, and it had to be pulled out with a grappling hook.
Along with the certification, Stone got to take home his container, along with video footage, as a memento.
With a certified container — and modifications that would retail for about $180 — Stone visited with Steamboat Springs City Council members to get their feedback on rolling them out in the city.
"What I'm proposing is you stick with a local business to deal with a local issue," Stone said. "I would love to make a career out of stopping these bears."
Stone's can has also won the approval of local wildlife officials.
"This can hold up to any bear that we can throw at it in this state," Colorado Parks and Wildlife District Manager Steve Baumgartner said.
Colorado is home to black bears, not the much-larger grizzly bears.
Waste Management now offering bear-resistant containers
Steamboat’s largest trash hauler on May 23 will begin offering its customers bear-resistant containers.
Waste Management customers can upgrade to the containers for $10 per month. The containers are not available for purchase.
“We are all aware of the problem of bears foraging for food in trash cans,” Waste Management’s Kevin Richards said in a news release. “We’ve also heard residents’ concerns about the cost to purchase a bear-resistant can. Waste Management wants to be part of the solution.”
Now, all three of Steamboat’s trash providers offer bear-resistant containers. Twin Enviro and Ace’s High sell them for between $220 and $240.
Waste Management can be contacted at 970-879-2400.
Twin Enviro can be contacted at 970-879-6985.
Ace’s High can be contacted at 970-870-6500.
Stone can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.