Bear Working Group

The Bear Working Group (BWG), a collaborative effort to minimize human and bear conflicts in La Plata County was initiated in 2011, and was a revisit of the initial Bear and Trash Roundtable meetings begun in 2002. Initially facilitated by Marsha Porter-Norton, representatives from a variety of community stakeholders work together, in what is in essence a de-facto government board or commission, to:

•  Develop and help implement creative community-based solutions for minimizing human-bear conflicts

•  Provide a forum for sharing information and resolving divergent views, and enabling coordinated responses to requests for information

•  Participate in the evaluation of best practices, attractant management, and bear management and provide feedback to the partners

•  Provide a coordinated approach to community outreach and communications regarding the activities of the Working Group

•  Provide, or recommend, a coordinated response to human-bear conflict issues in the community

The BWG meets twice annually and in late 2012 began formalizing an Action Plan for the group, which was completed in early 2013. Priorities for action included:

•  Reduce the availability of fruit as an attractant in the city and county

•  Establish educational outreach on bear issues for landlords, HOA’s, new homebuyers and realtors

•  Partnering with Fort Lewis College in reducing human-bear conflict on and off campus

Outcomes:  Fruit Gleaning Program, located at

The Bear Working Group is typically comprised of representatives from:

•  City of Durango

•  La Plata County

•  Colorado Parks and Wildlife

•  City Code Enforcement

•  La Plata County Sheriff’s Department

•  US Forest Service / BLM

•  Bear Smart Durango

•  Living With Wildlife Advisory Board of La Plata County

•  Local Waste Haulers

•  Healthy Community Food Systems

•  CSU Extension Office

•  The Good Food Collective

•  Citizens