Bears have always been a part of life in Boulder. The city’s urban wildlife conservation project aims to ensure bears and humans can safely co-exist. Through education, awareness and laws, the city is working to limit the food available to bears so they are not drawn to urban areas.
Bear Protection Ordinance
The city's 2017 Bear Protection Ordinance 8161 aims to protect bears by eliminating access to food rewards found in trash and compost bins. The ordinance requires:
- Anywhere in the city: Bear-resistant containers are required if trash and compost are put out the night before pickup.
Code enforcement officers will issue fines for noncompliance, including not latching containers, and violators will not receive warnings. Officers may issue tickets in-person or give citations to property owners via email or printed notification. The fines are:
- $100 for the first offense
- $250 for the second offense
- $500 for the third offense.
Please note yard waste such as leaves and branches are not considered bear attractants and can be put out for collection in leaf-litter bags or bundled with string. If compost containers only contain yard waste, they must still be latched. Also, bear-resistant carts and recycling containers can be put out for collection after 8pm the night before pick-up anywhere in the city.
Reducing Urban Bear Attractants
To help protect bears, community members are encouraged to reduce potential bear attractants. This includes:
- Using bear-resistant containers in working condition or storing waste in an enclosed space
- Harvesting ripe fruit
- Securing and protecting backyard livestock such as chickens, goats and bees. These animals are bear attractants and need to be housed in secure structures. Electric fencing* is another way to protect livestock from bears.
- Feeding birds in winter months only
*Electric fencing requires a permit in the City of Boulder.