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August 8, 2023

Living in Harmony: Being Bear Aware

Hello, homeowners, trailblazers and nature enthusiasts! The bears have been out and hungry this summer. As we immerse ourselves in the stunning landscapes of our region, it’s essential to remember that we share these spaces with some of Mother Nature’s most magnificent creatures, including bears. Whether you’re on the trail, at home, or managing your trash. Let’s explore how we can coexist with bears while ensuring their safety and ours.

On the Trail:

Venturing into the wilderness is a thrilling experience, but it’s crucial to respect the natural habitats of bears. Stay on marked trails to minimize your impact and make noise as you go to alert bears of your presence. Carrying bear spray and knowing how to use it can be a lifesaver in case of an encounter. Here is a great short video from REI on what to do if you encounter a bear: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHZ-prhA7E0

At Home:

Did you know that bears have an extraordinary sense of smell? This makes it vital to secure potential food sources around your property. While you may love having bird feeders in your yard, they are actually very harmful to bears.  A great alternative is using water features and flowers to attract birds, not bears. Keep garbage cans sealed and stored indoors until pickup day. Avoid leaving pet food outside and consider using bear-resistant containers. By minimizing attractants, you reduce the likelihood of bears entering residential areas, benefiting both them and us. 

Trash Management:

Responsible trash management is a collective effort. Summit County and each town have regulations regarding trash management in order to protect the safety of humans and bears.  Whether you’re a homeowner, renter, or business owner, properly storing and disposing of trash can significantly impact bear behavior. Use bear-resistant containers and educate others about the importance of this practice. Together, we can reduce human-bear conflicts and protect these magnificent animals.

Quick Tips for a Bear-Safe Lifestyle

1. Educate Yourself: Familiarize yourself with local guidelines for bear encounters and conservation efforts.

2. Secure Attractants: Keep trash, food, and scented items in bear-resistant containers.

3. Be Noise Conscious: Make noise while hiking to alert bears of your presence and prevent surprise encounters.

4. Bear Spray: Carry and know how to use bear spray in case of an encounter.

5. Mindful Camping: Properly store food and scented items when camping to prevent attracting bears.

Remember, our goal is to respect and protect both bears and ourselves. By being bear aware in every aspect of life—on the trail, with our homes, and in managing trash—we contribute to the coexistence of humans and wildlife in harmony.  Stay safe, and let’s continue to enjoy the beauty of our natural world responsibly.

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