Sunday, August 06, 2006

Bear stories

Everybody has a bear story. Here's my most recent: A black bear has been visiting my neighborhood in Woodland Park. At dinnertime last night, he sauntered past my house, turned into a neighbor's driveway and walked up the stairs to the second-story deck. As I watched in amazement, the neighbor pounded on his window, and the bear retreated. But the unexpected human-bear interaction made me sad. How had this bear - probably a juvenile, maybe 2 to 3 years old - gotten so bold? What would happen to him? I prayed my neighbors wouldn't call the authorities, and I also prayed they wouldn't do anything stupid, like leave out food for this bold marauder.

If you see a bear in your neighborhood, do everything you can to discourage him. Hopefully, he'll move on to safer ground (for him as well as for you).
For more information on how to deal with bears, check out the Colorado Division of Wildlife Web site at http://wildlife.state.co.us/

1 comment:

Zen said...

Frank Landis over at the Forest Service told me that, "This
has been the worst year I can recall in my 14 years here on [Pikes Peak ranger] district for
bears."

On July 18, 2006 Vail enacted an emergency ordinance radically increasing maximum allowable fines (up to $999 and 180 days in jail for a first offense) for improperly stored trash, or placing trash out the night before pickup after wildlife officials were forced to destroy 2 habituated bears in the area. See http://ci.vail.co.us/release.asp?nr_id=2764&type=0. for details.

Like many mountain communities, Woodland Park also has an ordinance on the books that requires residents to secure trash in a way that prevents attraction of wildlife, but considering that we haven't had a code enforcement officer on city staff for well over a year (planning pulls double duty), there is little if any enforcement.

How sad that it might take a human encounter leading to injury or death before people take this threat - to bear and human alike - seriously.