Two Months of Bear Protection Ordinance in Boulder

It’s been almost 2 months since the city of Boulder started enforcement of its Bear Protection ordinance. Approved by the city council in March, the ordinance requires that trash and compost be secured from bears at all times until it is collected by a waste hauler.

Ann Cantelow lives west of Broadway in North Central Boulder. She says bears often traveled down her alley to gorge on the trash cans and compost bins. The City of Boulder hopes the sight of upended trash cans strewn around alleys in West Boulder is a thing of the past with the enforcement of the Bear Protection Ordinance. Residents like Anne now have to navigate a special bear proof latch on their trash cans.

Some trash cans were retrofitted to comply with the ordinance, many more were replaced by the trash hauler, in this case, Western Disposal. The cost of those changes was a concern to some residents. Valerie Matheson is the urban wildlife conservation coordinator for the city of Boulder. She says the city is hopeful the ordinance will help with a problem the city has been struggling with for years…
Matheson says the challenge now is getting people to change their habits and actually use the new trash cans correctly. The city says it’s working to let residents know that their trash containers must be closed and latched to be in compliance with the ordinance.

The city has hired additional code enforcement staff who will do patrols to identify the residences and areas that are not in compliance. Fines begin at $250 for the first offense. $500 for a 2nd offense and $1000 for a third violation. The city reports that it has issued 245 notices of violation since October 1st.