Bear Smart HOA’s

Residents of subdivisions are in the unique position of addressing human and bear issues in a variety of effective ways on their own. Without having to rely on local community wildlife ordinances, subdivisions, Metro Districts and HOA’s have a number of tools available to them to help in reducing the number of bears entering and residing within their community – including:

  • Establishing community bear ambassadors to monitor bear activity
  • Establishing email and phone trees to alert residents about bear activity and removing attractants
  • Eliminating curbside trash collection in favor of centrally located bear-resistant dumpsters
  • Establishing an internal bear aware team to educate residents on reducing human-bear conflict
  • Establishing centralized food-growing and compost areas in lieu of individual plots
  • Establishing HOA bylaws to limit food attractants available to bears – and enforcing them!

Download quick tips for becoming a Bear Smart HOA.


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Crystal Lakes, Colorado
By taking a proactive approach in addressing human-bear issues, Crystal Lakes, a community of over 800 full and part time residents went from over 130 bear break-ins in 2005, (with a total estimated cost to the community of more than $150,000), to zero home invasions in 2007.

The year the Crystal Lakes Bear Aware Team was created saw 122 documented break-ins by the end of bear season in the fall. In 2006, that number dropped to 13. By 2007, the worst year on record for human-bear conflicts in the state, the Crystal Lakes area saw no break-ins at all. Crystal Lakes is now recognized as a model of community action, and programs around the country are being put into place to model the success achieved by the Crystal Lakes Bear Aware Team.

The approximately 25 members of the Bear Aware Team patrol the community regularly during the summer, meeting with property owners to discuss reducing human-bear interactions. The Team effectively maintains a neighborhood watch program for bears. Read the entire case study in Linda Masterson’s book, “Living with Bears: A Practical Guide to Bear Country.”




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Banner photo and subdivision photos courtesy: Linda Masterson
Bear alert photo courtesy: Town of Snowmass Village Animal Services