Saving our Bears One Trash Can At A Time

The Roaring Fork Valley Bear Coalition, a proactive volunteer-based non-profit, is dedicated to reducing human-bear conflicts over a 50-mile corridor. Our citizen groups respond to community needs by reducing attractants, educating residents, and working alongside stakeholders: CPW, municipalities & trash-haulers to achieve common community goals, enforcement and actions that protect black bears. Join us, rally your communities, become solution-based!

If you have a bear issue, please feel free to reach out to us for help and advice.

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Saving Bears One Trash Can At A Time


  • Because we have the privilege to live in a prime black bear habitat, it is up to us to fundamentally change our behavior towards bears.
  • Protecting the lives of black bears by working on proactive measures is the most effective way to prevent and reduce negative bear-human conflicts.
  • Implementing innovative ways and solutions to get the public more engaged will ensure peaceful coexistence with black bears.
  • Offering free educational “Bear Aware” and  “Bear Wise” materials can help our community better understand bear behaviors.
  • By working alongside with CPW on “Bear Aware” and “Bear Wise” programs, connecting community, and partnering with local municipalities are of key importance to keep humans and our beautiful black bears safe. 
  • By offering retro-fit kits for existing trash cans to deter bears.

Our straps are made with the help of Girl Scouts Troop 15014, Aspen, CO and Boy Scouts of America Aspen Troop 201.

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  • Stay calm and DO NOT run or play dead
  • Speak to the bear in a calm assertive voice
  • Slowly back away – make sure you are in safe area and that the bear has an escape route
  • It is illegal to harass wildlife and punishable by fine in the State of Colorado. Harassment can include gathering around, pursuing, or trying to take pictures with bears


Hazing – using physical discomfort to discourage bears from entering dumpsters, homes, cars, etc.

Relocation – tranquilizing and moving bears to a new habitat in the hopes they will not return. 

Euthanization – Colorado Parks & Wildlife is forced to put down numerous bears every year.

 When a bear(s) gets put down (by CPW or law enforcement) we receive the following questions from the public:

Why don’t they relocate the bear family? Relocation rarely works because bears travel hundreds of miles to get back to their original home range within weeks or end up getting killed by other dominant bears, hunters, or roads. It’s only a feel good solution for people.

 Why don’t they bring them to a Sanctuary? The Colorado Parks and Wildlife created a regulation many years ago that prohibits wild-born animals from being placed in Sanctuaries due to the number of people in CO that would not be responsible about their trash – but would then expect every three strike bear to not be euthanized and be placed in a sanctuary instead.


At Home:

  • Never Feed or Approach Bears 
  • Anything that smells like food attracts bears
  • Secure & store trash and recyclables in bear-resistant containers until morning of pick-up or in a secure area – Never leave trash outside of a dumpster
  • Remove your bird feeders when bears are active (March through December)
  • Never Leave Pet Food Outdoors – keep and store wildlife and livestock feed indoors in bear-resistant containers
  • Secure chicken coops, beehives, and livestock with electric fencing 
  • Clean BBQ grills & grease traps with ammonia, bleach or degreasing agent – Store grills in secure area to keep bears out
  • Vinegar is a great bear deterrent
  • Protect your garden: compost pile properly; pick fruit from trees and clean up fallen fruit or donate
  • Alert your neighbors to bear activity or contact us at 305-710-2977


  • Keep your dog on-leash.  Dogs pressure bears to defend themselves; off-leash dogs are the cause of many negative encounters between people and bears or other wildlife
  • While jogging or hiking in the woods, use your voice to avoid a surprise encounter, use a bear whistle or carry bear spray and know how to use it!
  • Always be aware of your surroundings and avoid using headphones
  • Keep all bear-accessible windows closed and locked
  • Lock your vehicle and garage doors – DO NOT LEAVE food or trash inside car

If bears are rewarded with food at your home, bears will keep coming back!

Fed bears frequently cause property damage and can be unfairly labeled as nuisances and are often killed.

Buy a bear resistant can or retrofit a bear resistant strap to your existing can.

Bear Resistant Cans (BRC’s) need to be compliant with local waste companies.

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