Local Bear and Trash Ordinances

The county and city ordinances are both complaint-driven, meaning they require for residents to report bear and trash incidents to law enforcement agencies to be effective. Both basically read the same. You are asked to store your trash in a manner that makes it unavailable to bears and other wildlife. If bears get into your trash, and you have received a Notice of Violation, you are required to:

  • Store trash in a secure structure or bear-resistant trash container
  • Abide by time of placement schedules for placing trash container out for collection


The La Plata County Board of Commissioners adopted a Bear-Resistant Trash Container Ordinance in 2008.  The ordinance is enforced by the La Plata County Sheriff’s Department and fines range from $200 to $500.  County residents are asked to report incidents of bears getting into trash by calling Central Dispatch at 385-2900.


The City of Durango adopted a City Wildlife Ordinance in 2010 and amended it in 2013 to include the requirement that trash containers not be placed out prior to 6 A.M. on the morning of collection. Warnings for first violations were replaced by a $100 fine in 2017.  City residents are asked to report bear and trash incidents by calling City Code Enforcement at 375-4930.




Penalties for violations of wildlife ordinances in Colorado are as follows:


COMMUNITY 1st Violation 2nd Violation 3rd Violation
Ouray Warning $300 $300 and/or Jail
Minturn Warning $150 to $250 $250 to $1000
Steamboat Springs Warning $350 Up to $1000
Palmer Lake $50 $75 $100
Mancos $50 $150 Summons
Telluride $50 $250 Summons
Snowmass Village $50 $250 Summons
Durango $100 $200 $200
Crested Butte $100 $200 $300 to $1000
Winter Park $100 $200 Summons
Carbondale $100 $250 $500
Aspen $250 $500 Up to $999
Boulder $250 $500 $1000
Lake City Up to $300
Vail Up to $999
Estes Park Up to $2,650 same same
Eagle County $100 $200 $500
La Plata County $200 $300 $500
Pitkin County $350 $500 Up to $1000
Larimer County Up to $2,650  same  same



A sampling of other Colorado Community Wildlife Ordinances: