Bear Smart Communities

“We’ve tried public education, we’ve tried to give people the opportunity to address the problem, and we’re at the end of our rope. We cannot control the human side of this problem. It is not effective. Some people just don’t care.” — Randy Hampton, Public Spokesman, Colorado Parks and Wildlife


Criteria for Communities to be designated Bear Smart

  • Prepare a bear hazard assessment (pdf) of the community and surrounding area.
  • Prepare a human-bear conflict management plan that is designed to address the bear hazards and land-use conflicts identified in the previous step.
  • Revise planning and decision-making documents to be consistent with the human-bear conflict management plan.
  • Implement a continuing education program, directed at all sectors of the community.
  • Develop and maintain a bear-proof municipal solid waste management system.
  • Implement ordinances or bylaws prohibiting the feeding of bears as a result of intent, neglect, or irresponsible management of human food attractants.


A brochure outlining the Bear Smart Community program, as well as a technical background report, are available. The background report is for use by communities that are interested in pursuing this initiative and provides detailed information on each of the criteria, including examples of their successful application. – Text courtesy the Get Bear Smart Society


Note: Durango, Colorado is not considered a Bear Smart community.