Colorado Springs City Council adopted two ordinances to help manage wild bears in neighborhoods west of I-25. Effective March 1, 2020, the ordinances require residents and businesses within the bear management area to secure their trash or use bear-resistant trash containers and the establishment of a “Bear Management Area Map.”
Who is affected by the new ordinance?
The “Bear Management Area Map,” includes most areas within the city limits west of I-25. Residents and businesses in the Bear Management Area must secure their trash within a functioning bear-resistant waste container, or within a secured structure at all times.
How to secure your trash
Colorado Springs residents and businesses west of I-25 are required to secure their trash.
This can be accomplished 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. (link is external)
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.
Enforcement and fines
Complaints of bear activity in a neighborhood due to unsecured trash will be investigated, and should a violation be substantiated, a written notice, order and assessment of administrative fee(s) to the owner or agent of the owner and occupant shall be issued. Citations will be in writing and personally served whenever feasible to the owner, agent of the owner, and/or occupant of the premises. The Neighborhood Services Division seeks compliance through education and will endeavor to help remedy the situation before issuing fines for non-compliance, however, the cost of citations are as follows:
- First violation – $100
- Second violation – $250
- Third and subsequent violation – $500
Garbage Kills Bears
It may sound dramatic, but it’s true. A bear that’s food-conditioned will always come back for a handout…and if it happens to be a residential neighborhood or commercial area, that’s a problem—for bears and humans. For residents in bear country, putting trash out only on the morning of pick-up cuts the chances of a bear visit from 70% to 2%.