The bear-necessities of Trail

Your bear friend’s back and there’s going to be trouble unless you keep clean

By Breanne Massey

Times Staff

Clean up the barbeque, take down the bird feeders, store garbage securely, bring the dog food inside and put away picnic baskets: it’s bear season.

Local conservation officers have already received several calls about bear sightings in Greater Trail this season.

“The bears are coming out of the den and since the snow melted pretty fast this year, I’d say they’re all out and about,” said Bear Aware community co-ordinator Sharon Wieder.

Somebody spotted a mom and two cubs in Glenmerry about a month ago and there have been reports of garbage being strewn about in West Trail.

“That’s usually a result of bears getting into people’s garbage,” she said.

Although the City of Trail has had a longstanding bylaw in place to minimize problems with bears, but it has been criticized for not being widely practiced by some members of the conservation department.

The bylaw says you can’t put your garbage out before 6 a.m. on the day of garbage pick-up, said Wieder.

“The idea behind it is that the bears are typically around at night time more than the day so that means, not leaving your garbage out overnight or putting it out too early in the morning,” she said.

According to Wieder, it’s easy to prevent problems related to bears and garbage.

“A big part of that is just consciously thinking about the garbage that we produce and reducing that amount through recycling and composting,” she said, “and then making sure that garbage is securely stored and dropped off at the landfill.”

Wieder said there are other products that attract bears, that people need to consider more carefully like BBQs. People should run their BBQs on high after they’re done to get rid of the odours of food.

“Bears have an incredible sense of smell which is something that people really need to keep in mind,” said Wieder. “It’s a good idea to turn it on high and burn off anything left over.”

Bears are curious and determined, Wieder added, and a lot of people don’t realize that they’re drawn to smells of pet food and such things as sunflower seeds on bird feeders.

She encouraged people to practice being bear aware this season by working together.

“Do what you can in your neighbourhood,” said Weider.

“A lot of times, I get calls from people who are good about storing their garbage but they have neighbours that aren’t as careful about storing their garbage—then it’s a problem for both of them.”