Bear resistant garbage bins are being tested in Johnson Heights
One Hour with a Grizzly. That’s what is required for a garbage can to pass the test. Recently, residential garbage cans have become available that do in fact pass the test and meet provincial “Bear Smart” standards as “bear resistant”.
The Revelstoke Bear Aware Society and the City of Revelstoke are currently testing these cans in Johnson Heights. The City’s Waste Collection Strategy committee has implemented a one year pilot project, to answer a number of questions:
- Are they an effective means of reducing the number of bears entering our community?
- Are they easy to use for residents and refuse collectors?
- Would they be an effective way of implementing a bear resistant solid waste management system in our city?
The pilot project began on October 14, with each household in Johnson Heights receiving a bear resistant garbage can. During the first night of the pilot, a bear took off with one of the cans. The bear dragged the can down into the ravine, clawed it up, ripped off the Bear Aware sticker (smart bear), but did not get in! Over the next couple of nights I received reports of an angry, growling bear that was unable to access garbage and of a bear returning three times in the night and leaving unsuccessful. The next week, a bear walked by a garbage can, stopped, looked and carried on.
Johnson Heights was chosen for this pilot due to high bear activity in the past couple of years and limited ability to secure garbage. In the fall of last year and during the bear season this year I was alerted to bear activity on a number of occasions. The stories on my couple of trips to Johnson Height last season seemed to be endless and the number of garbage bags ripped apart, were plentiful.
For one year, Johnson Heights will be given the opportunity to be part of this very exciting and important study. The residents of Johnson Heights will put out the bear resistant can, for curb-side pick up each week, secure all other attractants on their property, record any bear incidents and complete surveys during the study.
When bears are not rewarded with food they will leave and move on to look for food elsewhere. It would appear that early in this study the cans seem to be deterring bears. Will the residents find the cans easy to use? Will the cans stand up to the cold winter weather? Will refuse collectors find them easy to handle, not only during the bear season, but during Revelstoke’s heavy snow winter months.
Time will tell.
If you have any questions regarding this exciting pilot project, or would like further information about Revelstoke Bear Aware, or the City’s Waste Collection Strategy committee, please contact contact Penny Page-Brittin, Revelstoke Bear Aware Coordinator, beaware @ telus.net or