We need to start paying serious attention to our current bear/trash issues. I am amazed that this issue has never been resolved (or at least substantially minimized).
Just drive down Southwood Blvd. on trash day — this is an embarrassment. The bears will not change their natural instincts to look for food. How we interact with them is changeable. Some in our community have installed bear boxes and should be commended for taking the initiative.
We should be looking at how other communities and national parks have dealt with this issue. Bear-proof trash containers should be required. Why is our community not a leading example of stewardship in regards to coexisting with wildlife?
Yes, bear containers have additional costs associated with them. Perhaps IVGID and Waste Management can spread the up-front costs out by raising rates for a limited time. Also, since we have many visitors, guests and part-time residents, an education system must be added to increase their awareness and participation.
Unfortunately, fines will also need to be implemented and enforced to ensure compliance. There was a time when recycling was almost nonexistent — look how that has changed. Ultimately this will cost everyone in the community a little extra financially and a little extra effort when handling their trash.
The reward will be that the killing of a bear due to a trash incident will be a very rare occurrence. Bears should not be expendable because of our behavior. Let’s raise the bar as a community.