Li'l Cinnamon meets her maker — and trashy humans bear the blame.

Li'l Cinammon's last dinner, chez Ferraro's. Photo: Sharon Weider
Li'l Cinammon's last dinner, chez Ferraro's. Photo: Sharon Weider

A cute cinnamon-coloured black bear had captured the hearts of many in Rossland, but was also causing more and more trouble. Two short months after the bear came to town, conservation officers (COs) were forced to trap and euthanize her.

"She showed up in town around mid-May," said Rossland Bear Aware coordinator Sharon Weider. "She was small, not much bigger than a dog, so people thought she was an orphaned cub."
 
In fact, COs have recently confirmed that the bear was five to ten years old and probably a runt. Although she may have been in town in previous years, this was the first year she was noted as a problem.
 
The bear was very comfortable in town, perhaps too comfortable, Weider said. "I got phone calls from people in different areas around town. The bear was out at all hours of the day and not paying any attention to people at all."
 
“This underscores the fact that the longer bears are tolerated, as they get older they get bolder,” Weider said.
 
"At the end of June, I got a phone call from City Hall that there was a bear up in the Pinewood area. It was garbage day, and the bear was going around trying to get it. The neighbours pulled the garbage together and tried to keep the bear away," Weider said. 
 
"When I got there," she continued, "I saw her come walking up the street, looking at us like we weren't there. She wasn't threatened by us at all. She wasn't aggressive either. She was habituated."
 
When it reaches this point, Weider said, most hope is lost. Relocating the bears, even a great distance, rarely helps. There is little to no hope of changing the bear's habits to return to a wilderness diet.
 
"Basically, the first problem is that people had not called in [to the RAPP line—Report All Poachers and Polluters] when the bear was first seen," Weider said. "If it's caught early on, there's potential at the beginning to haze her, to scare her out of town so she doesn't feel welcome. By June it was too late."
 
By June, the bear was regularly visiting the dump behind Ferraro's. Weider photographed her there one day, "nonchalant, chomping away in there."
 
"I went in to talk to Ferraro’s," Weider recalled, "and they said, 'Oh yeah, he's here all the time'. I asked why the [chainlink, electrified] gate was not closed. They said Al Davies [the city's garbage contractor] stores stuff in there and doesn't always close the gate behind him."
 
So Weider approached Davies who said that, in fact, he does close the gate behind him, and said the problem was Ferraro's leaving the gate open.
 
Back at Ferraro's, Weider was also surprised to have discussions with high school students working at the grocery who had the attitude, "What's the big deal? The bear’s here all the time."
 
Weider explained to them about the formation of a bear's trash habits and how those bears can become both a nuisance and a danger to society.
 
Sure enough, there were soon reports from a man near Happy Valley who was working on a task outside when he felt a cold wet nose on his arm. He turned around to see Li'l Cinnamon looking back. Not long after, this bear broke through the man's screen door, opened the fridge, and pulled everything out for a big snack.
 
And Li'l Cinnamon was down at the Lion's Campground too. For each of the past three years, Weider has noted recurrent bear problems at the campground.
 
"I don't know before that, but I know for sure the last three years," she said. "It's the  garbage system they have, I don't think it's very recognizable to people."
 
She noted that they have a secure, locked gate around the main garbage storage—albeit "a little difficult to open"—and secure dumpsters—albeit with bent corners that the bears can pry open to reach in—but some campers seem unaware of the garbage system. 
 
"Some people just leave garbage on top of the dumpster," Weider said. "There's no signs to tell people what to do with their trash. And some people leave their coolers out."
 
A couple weeks ago, the COs brought a trap into lower Rossland for another problem bear that they subsequently caught and euthanized. 
 
"When people saw the trap, some were upset and thought it was this [cinnamon] bear that was going to be trapped. They wanted to know what to do," Weider said.
 
Unfortunately, the options were slim. As Li'l Cinnamon's bad habits piled up, the COs were left with no choice. She was trapped and killed at the campground last week.
 
"Just two months from showing up to town and being killed," Weider pondered, "that's a typical lifespan of a bear that gets habituated to people and used to getting into garbage and other people food. It's typical of what happens to these bears."
 
The solution, she said, "takes everyone." First of all, she said, "We prefer people to call the RAPP line early, when the bears first show up. Early in the season we may be able to do something—when they break into your house, it's too late."
 
She also suggested, "Get a garbage can rather than a bag in the street. The dump behind Ferraro's should be secured 24 hours a day. And they should bear-proof the dumpster at the campground along with signs to let people know to properly dispose of their trash and keep food locked away.”
 
Weider gave the dumpster outside of Trail's public works yard and a new one beside the bocce pit in the Gulch as good examples.
 
To Weider's knowledge, Cinnamon’s death brings this year's bear tool to two—but there is a third trap out right now for another problem bear. 
 
She said, "A fed bear is a dead bear.”

Comments

Nail on the Head...

When I was a kid it was regional news, if not more, when a bear entered someones home...  Now its a regular occurance.. 

My Children have each had face to face encounters with bears ( with in 5 feet), my lovely wife had an in home experience early in the am on the way to the bathroom. lol.   I can't say that I am all that comfortable with that.  Not too worried, but not comfortable either. 

I have been forced by the bylaws to keep my dogs in their run or tied.   When they are, the bears walk by the end of the rope and carry on...  When they aren't we don't see the bears around. 

I am against Killing the bears I see it a needless and wasteful. I am however against them shopping through town all day long...   The odd bear at night that has some element of fear does not bother me.. 

  I agree with Karen things are getting a little close for comfort.  

Seems to me that things are

Seems to me that things are getting mixed up here. This bear (Cute Lil Cinnamon! C'mon - whose anthropomorphizing!) was an habituated bear and as such was a danger in town. I don't care that some people believe they are so tuned into bears' subtle language that they can predict what a bear will do. If a bear is wandering around town mid-day it will encounter numerous people - including children - who won't be able to 'read it' and may do the wrong thing and provoke a hostile encounter. Also remember it is the 'little ones' (100 to 150 lbs.) that are responsible for most of the bear attacks.

This bear had to be destroyed. I'm glad it was before someone got hurt.

Being a conservationist means conserving the species - not the individual animal - and bears are doing fine as a species.

Our responsibilty towards the individual animal is to ensure it is treated humanely. Here we may have failed by permitting this individual bear to get too familiar with man - but there is also a good argument that, as a runt, this bear was not able to compete in the wild and chose town life as the 'easy' way to survive; with the usual result. I wouldn't be too quick to point the finger of blame at Ferraro's or any other business or individual. It seems likely that there were a number of contributing factors.

But we should learn lessons from an issue like this. Once a bear becomes habituated the end is unfortunately predictable. Like dogs, bears learn bad habits quickly and changing their behaviour is difficult. Feeding stations and other interventions will inevitably lead to the same result. Bears are wild animals and need to be respected and allowed to get on with their lives with minimal human intervention - whether well intentioned or not.

 

Watchout far those dastardly killers,

Hey Mountain Mitch, I heard there is a killer squirrel hanging around your neighbourhood, do you want to call in the military and Wytt Earp or would you rather have me come over and talked to it to get its feelings on the matter. 

Yup, bears do have a very broad language, whether you want to believe it or not.  Hell, Lil Cinnamon and I used to hang out and tell dirty jokes to one another as we shared lunch from my neighbour’s garbage bags. 

Andrew’s latest post has a lot of truth to it.  Those who are just chomping at the bit to to shoot a bear or call in someone (usually Wytt Earp) who will do the deed for him or her should read his post and learn something about wild animals.   

Gee, I wonder how many rampaging sow bears with cubs have killed scores of people in Rossland in the past 115 years?  Or perhaps there has never been a sow with cubs in the city.

Les    (My real name; no hiding here)

Others Understand

I realize that for some reason you think that you are the only Rosslander to understand wild animals but, believe it or not, some of us long time Kootenay residents actually have dealt with more than our fair share of the wild. Animals communicate. Animals are not bound by our ideas of logic or reason. They can't always be read. And yes there have been sows with cubs in town (if that was a question)

Anthropomorphism

Noun - "The attribution of human characteristics or behavior to a god, animal, or object."

I wasn't aware that "cute" and "little" were strictly the domain of humans.

Regarding this heinous sin, I again bring up Jane Goodall's revolutionary work in animal behaviour (ethology) in which she named her subjects. She writes in "The Great Ape Project", 1993:

"One by one, over the years, many words once used to describe human behaviour have crept into scientific accounts of nonhuman animal behaviour. When, in the early 1960s, I brazenly used such words as 'childhood', 'adolescence', 'motivation', 'excitement', and 'mood' I was much criticised. Even worse was my crime of suggesting that chimpanzees had 'personalities'. I was ascribing human characteristics to nonhuman animals and was thus guilty of that worst of ethological sins -anthropomorphism. Certainly anthropomorphism can be misleading, but it so happens that chimpanzees, our closest living relatives in the animal kingdom, do show many human characteristics. Which, in view of the fact that our DNA differs from theirs by only just over 1 per cent, is hardly surprising."

While it's fundamental that bears are bears, not humans, and they are not so closely related to us as chimps, and that many bear behaviours have no analogy in human terms and vice versa, Goodall's approach of attributing complex animals with personalities, thoughfulness, and emotions also applies to bears.

Furthermore, if the goal is not an ethological treatise but rather an intuitive understanding of these animals to help us relate to them—so we may cohabit peacefully and respectfully—then the easiest way for the "layperson" to relate to a bear is in human terms. Done carefully, it is not ethologically inaccurate either.

On your main point, Mitch, about the fact that Cinnamon was best dispatched due to the dirty habits she'd acquired and would never unlearn, I fully agree. That nature discards runts, and Cinnmon may have been an example, absolutely. That a bear habituated to finding food inside human property is likely to damage more property, yes! But on your assumption that a bear habituated to people is inherently dangerous, I disagree. Show me the evidence and I will change my mind!

As for the danger to kids, remind me again the last time anyone got hurt by a black bear in this region? Black bears are subject to a lot of myth-information, the "attacks" in New Jersey last year a reminder of the hype: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/04/bear-attack-new-jersey_n_918191.html

The chances of getting hit by a car, or even lightning for that matter, are much higher!

Hurt or hostile

I agree that an habituated bear is less likely to be overtly hostile. Having said that, I am aware of numerous hostile encounters (jaw snapping, standing ground, slapping the ground, vocalizations - huffing etc., bluff charges and stalking) from bears in the area (how habituated they are I can't really say); but I am not aware of anyone actually being hurt if that is the criteria.

Completely out of touch

You have come in contact with hostile behaviour with a bear,  (jaw snapping, standing ground, slapping the ground, vocalizations - huffing etc)?  As long as the bear was doing just as you posted you were completely safe as long as you backed off or moved away to give it its asked for space.  Obviously you had no idea what the bear was doing.   Believe it or not, which you won’t of course, that vicious, killer hostile bear that confronted you, was trying to talk to you.  Every one of those signals that you stated were telling you in his/her language to “not come any closer to me”, “don’t stare at me” and,  “I am not aggressive; etc”.   If that bear had wanted to be agressive with you, it would have been game over for you within a matter of seconds; plain and simple.

Have you ever seen a bear sit on its haunches, open its mouth and move its head from side to side while it was looking at you?   Do want to guess what that bear was telling you?  Of course you wouldn’t because to you, that would be a sure sign that the bear was sizing you up for lunch and was ready to attack. 

Believe it or not, the bear was telling you that it was not going to be aggressive and was leaving the area.

If you want a negative reaction from a bear, stare at it or bare your teeth as you smile at it.  Maybe try crouching down in front of a bear sometime.  That would result in a few bites marks on your butt.   Try chasing away an under weight bear from a food source in the fall season.   That would definetly get you close and personal with the bear.

Enough said on this matter for me.

Les

Hostile Much?

Wow you don't get it. I was giving those very examples of a bear communicating. If the bear is not backing down, it is being aggressive or dominant. It is threatening. Does not mean an attack is imminent. But it could escalate - bears are not always predictable. I know this as does just about anyone else in town over the age of ten. But there are kids (and a few others) who don't. I don't get why you are so defensive and hostile since you seem to agree.

Fact and fantasy

It's definitely tough to get at the facts on this issue. "Hurt" is about the only one that is quantitatively verifiable, and right now, to my knowledge, we're at zero.

I hope it stays that way forever, and education of humans—in both bear habits and proper human habits—is the key. Killing bears who learn to make themselves at home in your garage or kitchen is also the right thing to do, but would largely be unneccessary if we were all on the same Bear Aware page.

As for "hostile," there's a great deal of difficulty with reports of hostile encounters. For one, as Les points out, most people have a strong fear of bears coupled with pretty weak skills at "reading" a bear's body language and vocalizations.

Most bears I meet (who don't immediately saunter off) do a little huffing and puffing, maybe shake a branch, other things that say, "Hey, I'm here, stay away." No problem there, I'd do the same if I was Joe Blow bear in a bumper berry patch or felt suddenly startled.

Big difference between that and a bluff charge or stalking. I have to say, I've never heard of either of those in town. Fill me in though!

More confounding still, people love to tell a good story, particularly a good bear story. People love the action, the adventure, the heroism of facing down an "angry bear."

Maybe a bear huffed and took a step or two towards the frightened human (whose fear was making the bear scared) to say "Scram! Don't hurt me!"... but by the time the heart-pounding city slicker races home, it was a bluff charge followed by a stalking!

That's what happened with those boys in New Jersey who told a whopper about a bear attack and used scratches and scrapes incurred well before the incident as "proof"!

Poor bears, no court of law, guilty from the get-go, and too many people willing to believe the tall tales...

Another sad story of not understanding

This story really does cause me great distress in that humans have no understanding of wild animals what so ever so they turn to spreading fear mongering about them.  I agree whole heartedly that a bear should not be trusted nor should one make the mistake of regarding one as a wild pet.  On the other hand however, town habituated black bears in this area have no interest in harming humans: note; the 115 year history of black bears in Rossland. They are doing what we, humans, would do under similar circumstances; looking for life sustaining food. 

The Cinnamon bear in this story was a common site in our back yard and many times we would go out in the morning and she would be curled up sleeping in our raspberry patch about ten feet from our back yard sidewalk.  We never fed the bear nor did we ever give the bear reason to be defensive around us.  We never chased it , we never threw things at nor did we ever shout at it.  In return it never showed any signs of negative aggression towards my wife nor myself, at any time.  As I said, we did not regard it as a wild pet, but as a wild creature that we have to “live with” because we live in a heavily treed area of Rossland.  We simply gave it its space and it gave us ours.

Being that I was born and raised in isolation in far northern Saskatchewan, we learned very early in our childhood  to understand a black bear's subtle language and how to behave around them and what to do if we were confronted by any aggressive animal; especially black bears.   

Sadly, this bear was destroyed for no other reason than simple ignorance of what we need to know when living in areas that are frequented by wild animals.  Not understanding their body and simple vocal language base also is lacking in our dealing with them. The consequence of this gross misunderstanding of wild animals is calling in the Conservation Officer (Wytt Earp) by which you have just condemned the bear to a 100% certain death.

maybe i should read the

maybe i should read the article.  but i dont want to.  if this bear is eating in ferraros dumpster then please explain to me why ferraros isn't punished for allowing access for bears to eat there garbage. why is this acceptable?  this is rossland.  bears live here.   very sad.  makes rossland look low class.

Lazy, dumb-assed humans

We have been living with the bears for over 100 years in this area but yet some people "forget" to secure their garbage so often that the bears continually go back to those places because they know that this dumb-assed lazy human is going to "forget" to secure the bear goodies again! It is about time this town starts to actually DO  SOMETHING about these lazy dumb-assed humans in the form of a good stiff fine that increases every time they "forget" again. Oh I know; we have bear aware and blah, blah, blah but this just doesn't cut it with some people. They need something a bit more "memorable" than another piece of paper that tells them that their "forgetful" behaviour lured a bear in to town so we slaughtered it!  Way to go you lazy dumbassed humans!  YOU know who you are! I hope you feel at least a little bit embarassed by your behavour.

wildlife attractant bylaw

Strong language aside, I agree with the sentiment.

Sometimes people make mistakes, or aren't aware that something is an attractant until it gets torn to shreds. Especially if these errors are immediately corrected, perhaps some leniency is deserved in these cases.

But sometimes there are patterns that repeat and repeat and repeat. In these cases, we should consider some way to enforce the fines clearly stipulated in the attractant bylaw that came into effect last year.

You can download "Wildlife Attractant Bylaw 2505" from the city bylaw website.

Andrew; A question for you,

Do you sincerely believe that not leaving out garbage will stop the bears from venturing into Rossland?   Garbage at the curb is only a fraction of the smells that bring bears into the city. 

There are hundreds of barbecuing meals being cooked (meat) in the evenings, people cooking meals in their kitchens can be smelled by a bear for miles around.  Clover is one of the main sources of food for bears; there are clover patches all over town.   Yes ripe or half ripe fruit on trees attract bears.  Restaurant odors, where mass amounts of cooking oils are being used, can be picked up by a bear's sense of smell three to  four miles away.

Bear Aware is a good thing to a limited extent and I do support them to that limited extent. I have however, failed to hear or learn of any program they offer that teaches people how to "live with" these wanton killer beasts and not be devoured or maimed by these human hunting killers.  Bears have a very distinct language that is simple and is very easy to learn.  Why don't they spend some time teaching this to people rather than we should eat our garbage and be afraid of bears.

My take on bears—and the difference between garbage and fruit

Hi Les,

Sure, I'd be happy to say what I sincerely believe, because I'm sure you'll see that we agree on most points. I'm not sure, however, what you based your assumptions on. Perhaps you've mistaken Bear Aware's point of view with my own?

First, I fundamentally believe that humans should take care of their trash, with or without bears. This is accomplished in several ways. 1) Don't make it. 2) Reuse or repurpose it. 3) Compost it. 4) Recycle it. 5) How much is really left at this point besides plastic bags? Sure, there are other ways too, but my basic point is that we should think in cycles not dumps.

(That, and the fact that it's unhealthy for the bears to dig through our trash, is why the 'dump outside of town' argument holds no water for me...That said, an unfenced composting zone outside of town with only organics and the bears 'employed' to turn it, THAT makes sense to me. It would be a BC mountain variation on the splendid "pigaerator" composting system of the brilliant farmer Joel Salatin.)

Second, of course bears will continue to come through town. If you've read my bear posts in the past, you'll know that I welcome their presence here, I advocate strongly against wrong-headed techniques like stone-throwing to make bears afraid of us and feel unwelcome, I frequently wave the flag of '115 years of violence-free bears in town,' and generally think they're a great part of this community.

Immediately, just by saying this, I will have generated mostly thumbs down on the post. I don't give a hoot. As far as I'm concerned, that's just an indication of how unfairly prejudiced people are against bears.

I fully disagree with Sharon Weider that we need bears to "feel threatened by us," as a solution. I dutifully write out Bear Aware's stance on the issue because that's what reporters do—we try to fairly represent other people's points of view.

But I personally support the approaches advocated by Charlie Russell, the 'bear man of Kamchatka.' In a nutshell: mutual respect.

I'll say it again as I have in the past, the bears in this town are downright 'friendly' by the standard I measure bears by—which isn't the 'I'd have a beer with that bear' standard, Adrian.

I've encountered bears that made me feel uncomfortable in the past, but never in Rossland. A bear that looks up nonchalantly while munching on berries, hardly gives my dog a glance, and merely huffs a bit or nothing at all... by gar, that's a friendly bear. Call it "habituated" if you want, but I believe in innocence until guilt is proven by genuinely threatening behaviour.

Third, I agree completely with Sharon that garbage bears are the problem. They learn to associate human objects with food, and then they become a menace to our property—even though I doubt they'd pose us any bodily harm unless they were really grumpy from the indigestion caused by all the glass, plastic, and tin in their bellies. 

On the same lines, I have yet to see a single shred of evidence that a black bear eating ONLY natural foods has ever caused a problem to human property—besides some unsolicited pruning. I would rather harvest the fruits for myself, but I see no inherent problem with a bear in a fruit tree. People can huff and puff til they're blue in the face, but they still can't produce any evidence that a bear eating fruit in town (or clover, or ants, or even human-produced vegetables like carrots) is a problem bear.

(I should mention that I am also one of Rossland's main 'Harvest Rescue' volunteers who go all over town to pick all the fruit we can get our hands on...but I'm more interested in fresh juice, dried fruit, cider, and jam than I am in keeping bears out of town!)

Imagine this scenario: everyone takes care of their human-produced "attractants." This is not to say that the attractants disappear, and not to say that bears are no longer attracted to town, but rather that "unnatural" foods—like garbage, dog food, contents of outdoor fridges and freezers, chicken feed, compost, that sludge in the corner of the garage, and anything that isn't directly living in the ground—are made inaccessible.

If this were the case, but bears still came into town to eat fruit, clover, and occasionally raid a carrot patch, there would be no problem at all in my books.

(If you want to keep all your carrots, build a sturdy fence around your garden and rim it with electric fence. If you want to keep all your fruit, throw up a portable electric fence in the two week period between when bears start eating it and when it's ripe enough to harvest. I'm happy to help anyone who wants to learn how to put in these simple, safe, and effective systems.)

But it's the garbage bear that's a dead bear. A straight-and-narrow fruit bear who's never had easy access to human-object food in the past is just not going to make the mental leap to knock down a door and open your fridge like Li'l Cinnamon.

And since I mentioned chickens, I'll say this about them: bears are more attracted to the chicken feed. Coyotes and raccoons are more attracted by the chickens.

I have chickens at my place, and bears and coyotes wander past, but they've never so much as glanced at my birds. Only the raccoons have taken interest, especially in the lean seasons. But since none of them can get in, the interest doesn't last long. It's like a restaurant that's out of your price range: you may desire what's in there, but since you can't afford to get through the door, you quickly walk by to go somewhere you can actually get food. An inaccessible attractant is unattractive.

That's what the "attractant bylaw" is all about to me: There will always be attractants and attracted wildlife, but people must do their part to make sure that ne'er the twain shall meet.

I'm not going to criticize people for their fear of bears any more than I would criticize anybody over any phobia, be it of the dark, or of snakes (in this country), or of Stephen Harper. (I'm personally much afflicted by the latter.) But a fear of bears in this town is unfounded and should be recognized as an attitude, a state of mind, that can lead to some unhelpful policies like stone throwing.

Bears, moreover, are incredibly sensitive to how you feel, so they "smell" fear, which is in itself threatening to them and creates a downward cycle in mutual suspicion and hostility... the opposite of respect.

The attractant bylaw, however, seems like sensible policy to me.

115 year history of bears in Rossland

Waving the flag of 115 years of violence-free bears in town is a little misleading, don't you think?  The implication is that what we are doing now has worked for 115 years which is simply not so.  The current approach has been around less than 10 years.  While it has accomplished some things, todays philosophy appears to be creating more habituated bears, bears not afraid to break into someone's house. 

The approach to bears has

The approach to bears has changed many times. No doubt it's covered the gamut from shoot-at-sight, to leave-em-to-the-dump, to today's approach of conservation officers with traps and a hit list of "problem bears."

Regardless of approach, there hasn't been a single case of a bear being physically violent to a human in or near this town, despite a constant presence of both species—including plenty of "problem bears"—for more than a century. I don't see what's misleading about waving that flag. 

I am uncertain, however, what constitutes "today's philosophy," as if it were a singular thing. Nor am I certain there's any evidence that today's bears are more or less habituated to breaking into people's homes than they have been in the past. Such assumptions appear misleading to me.

I'd like to think that year by year, more people are taking proper care of their waste. That's a good trend to start.

A well thought out post;

Andrew, I agree with your post whole heartedly and enjoyed reading the concept of your reply.  With that being said, black bear phobia can only be learned by misrepresented theories by many special interest groups or by those who like to tell romanticized stories of dangerous bears. 

My greatest concern is how humans react to bears and actually create dangerous bears because of their own phobias and misguided beliefs.    Town bears are not like bush bears by any stretch of the imagination.   Bush black bears are the one’s most likely to perceive humans as prey; however, in some cases, especially during the early to late fall; even semi friendly town bears can become aggressive when protecting a found food source.   For the most part, an observant person can tell at first glance how great the chances are that a bear in the fall will likely be aggressive and can be very dangerous if crowded.   Their physical condition is the first sign that will display a bear’s likely behaviour.  In the fall, bears go into a feeding frenzy that is driven by solely by instinct and they will protect a food source with their lives: or yours.  This is the time when even habituated town bears should be given their space and small children should be watched very closely.  As with humans, dogs, cats and birds, bears are distinct individuals and have their own personalities.  Most city dwelling humans have no concept of this.

Rather than go on with a three volume novel with this, I just want close by saying that learning to read a bear’s communication language and learning to read their physical condition can go miles in understanding this animal’s probable behaviour.   Plastic garbage cans?  They are like a fun filled Lego toy for a bear.  A street block, bear proof garbage collection site would do the trick.  “Be Aware” however, you certainly don’t want a hungry or under nourished bear running around your neighbourhood come late fall.  Controlled food stations near towns would help only to a certain extent to cut down the number of hungry and/or under-nourished bears in town.  Bear knowledge is about the answer

Just my thoughts,

Les

Absolutely, Les. Nature illiteracy is enemy #1...

Thanks for starting the conversation, Les, I appreciate your insights and respect your deep knowledge in the ways of nature that you've developed over a jam-packed lifetime of working with her...

I worry that there are many natural modes of communication that most modern humans have forgotten—how to read a bear's complex (but emotionally and intuitively simple) personality and body language is just one.

Consequently, you've inspired a comment piece that I'll work on and see if it suits the pages of the Rossland Telegraph this week. I look forward to keeping this conversation alive, so thanks again!

I completely agree..

I would add, why are we not attracting bears out of town..  There were few bears in the upper parts of Rossland when we had a dump...  Plant fruit tree's along the bike trails to attarct the bears there...   Or in the clear cuts if we aren't interested in feeding the bears mountain bikers...  

Bear food in clear cuts

Clear cuts are natural places for bears to forage.  All sorts of things that bears can eat will grow quite well there, all on their own.  As a former treeplanter, I know that all too well.  But bear populations will always rise to meet the supply of food.  So it doesn't matter how much food is outside of town, bear population will grow to eat it, multiply, until population pressure forces some to go look elswhere for food.  Like in our town, whether it be garbage, fruit trees, vegetable gardens, or just dandelions and clover growing in grass.