Colorado Springs passes ordinance to require bear-proof trash cans or alternatives for some residents west of I-25

Colorado Springs passes ordinance to require bear-proof trash cans or alternatives for some residents west of I-25

By Lindsey Grewe/Jenna Middaugh | 
Posted: Tue 3:07 PM, Oct 08, 2019  | 
Updated: Tue 4:04 PM, Oct 08, 2019

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) – Colorado Springs is now requiring bear-resistant trash cans, with offers of alternatives, for some people who live west of I-25.

It’s no secret that area bears have treated west side neighborhoods as their own personal buffet when residents have failed to secure their trash. For years, Colorado Parks and Wildlife has pleaded with the public to stop making it so easy for bears to get food.

“We need to keep them away from people food, and if they are getting into people food we need to intervene,” Frank McGee with CPW told 11 News in a 2017 interview.

According to CPW, 30 bears were euthanized in El Paso and Teller counties in 2017 because they came in contact with humans.

“It’s really important not only for people but for the health of the bears because once they start to be aggressive and they get accustomed to food, they break into a house, they’re not going to stop that behavior,” said Richard Skorman, Colorado Springs City Council president and District 3 representative.

Skorman and District 1 Representative Don Knight scheduled two public meetings to get community input on the proposed ordinance.

The ordinance ordinance would require people who live west of I-25 who don’t have a garage or a secure place to leave their trash to get a bear-resistant can.

If people do have a garage, the ordinance requires that people wait until 5 a.m. on the day of their pickup to set their trash out and take it back inside by 7 p.m. that day.

People can also get around the trash can requirement if they keep their food waste inside until trash day.

“We’re looking to limit when trash cans are out that contain foods that have something that would attract the bears to bring them into the city,” Knight said. “We want the bears staying in the wildlife eating their own natural food.”

Knight also suggested building a structure around the trash cans that bears can’t get into if people don’t have a garage and don’t want to buy a bear-resistant can.

The cheapest option for bear-resistant trash cans that 11 News found online was around $200.

Knight said it would go into effect March 1, 2020 so people would be prepared when the bears wake up from hibernation.

“We want to keep them up into the mountains eating their natural food and not coming in and eating man-made food,” Knight said.

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