BOZEMAN — Living in bear country comes with its fair share of responsibilities. To help curb resident conflicts with bears, the City of Bozeman is now offering bear-resistant trash cans.
"For us it was really important to help protect the bears in our area. All year had at least one bear wandering around and we have our normal trash can broke into at least once, and it just felt really irresponsible to let that keep happening," says Bozeman resident Casey Cash.
"It’s great. Ever since we got it there’s been no bear issues, so we feel really good about that," she adds. "It’s easy to use. It was a quick call to the city. They came out and brought it the same day, switched it out, and I didn’t have to do anything. The only difference is that it takes two hands to open".
The trash can program comes after donations from multiple city partners, and officials hope this is only the beginning of Bozeman becoming a bear-smart community.
"I’d very much like to thank our partners, Greater Yellowstone Coalition, People and Carnivores, Sierra Club, and others for donating $23,000 to get our pilot up and running," says Nick Ross, Bozeman's director of transportation and engineering. "And we’re working with our sustainability board this winter to put out a more broad, wide-based sustainable plan together for reducing those bear conflicts as well."
Officials and residents want to protect not just themselves, but bears from becoming a problem in their neighborhoods, an issue that has previously resulted in bear euthanization.
"I think it’s really important to take a moment and think about how we can protect our bears because if we don’t leave the trash out where they can get it, then they won’t become a problem," says Cash.