Make effort to coexist with bears

Letter to the editor
The Durango Herald
Sunday, April 06, 2014

Spring bear wake-up season will soon be upon us and with it will come the perennial question of how can bears and people coexist in La Plata County. Obviously, some people don’t care much about coexistence – they simply want the government to “manage” bears by having more bears killed.

But, there are more responsible avenues for ensuring coexistence. For instance, we can be informed citizens and keep our garbage cans secured inside until the day of pickup. We can stop feeding our pets outside. We can elect not to feed birds during the summer months. And, if we live in the county, we can protect our fruit trees, beehives and poultry with electric fencing. With the exception of the latter issue, all of these interventions are free and don’t require much effort. In the case of electric fencing, Bear Smart Durango has a community outreach program to provide guidance about implementing electric fencing and possibly even the fencing.

All of these actions can be taken by motivated, private citizens without depending upon government to solve our problems. But, for some, not assuming personal responsibility provides an excellent opportunity to wail about an “overbearing” (I couldn’t resist), incompetent and inefficient government. Which kind of person are you?

Rick VanWagenen