With bears in Asheville backyards, be ‘BearWise’ about managing trash

Press release from City of Asheville:

Baby bears are cute, mama bears can be fierce and both have emerged from their dens hungry.

An increasing number of black bears live and roam around the City of Asheville, according to Colleen Olfenbuttel, Black Bear and Furbearer Biologist for the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC). She adds that people and bears can safely coexist, with the key being that people need to follow the BearWise Basics. We’ll get into those in a minute but first let’s talk about the bear issue the City of Asheville most often hears about: bears getting into trash carts.

Bears are habitual creatures who learn where they can find easy food sources. Keeping your trash cart out of their reach is strongly recommended. This can be done by keeping your City-issued trash cart in your garage or otherwise secured until the day Sanitation comes for pickup.

Bear-resistant trash carts

People have asked when or whether the City of Asheville may consider providing bear-resistant trash carts. While residents can purchase their own carts if they are compatible with the City’s Sanitation trucks, providing them citywide or even to bear-prone neighborhoods is cost prohibitive at this time.

“We are researching ways to fund bear-resistant cans,” said Sanitation Division Manager Jes Foster.

The NCWRC and North Carolina State University has been conducting an urban-suburban bear study in Asheville for the past five years. Find information about that project on the North Carolina Urban/Suburban Bear Study Facebook page. Phase 2 of the bear study will include identifying neighborhoods for BearWise certification.

For now, if you opt to buy your own bear-resistant trash cart, there are two types available at local hardware and home stores:

  • One that locks and then the owner unlocks it before trash is collected.
  • One that unlocks on its own when the action of the Sanitation truck arm lifts it into the air and swings it in an arch for disposal.

A list of carts compatible with the City of Asheville Sanitation system and their prices is listed at this link on the Sanitation webpage.

“If a resident does purchase a bear-resistant can, we do appreciate a call to notify the Sanitation Division,” said Foster. You can email sanitation@ashevillenc.gov or call Customer Service at 828-251-1122.

Be BearWise

Secure food, garbage, and recycling.

· Do not place trash/recycling out the night before collection. By City ordinance, carts should be placed at the curb *on the day of pick up* and removed the same day. So roll that trash cart into your garage, if you have one. Put it outside only on the morning of your collection day.

· Bears can smell food from miles away. Putting food scraps in the freezer and then placing them in the garbage can on day of pick up (while still frozen) can reduce bear curiosity.

· Remove bird feeders when bears are active.

· Never leave pet food out.

· Never feed or approach bears.

· Clean and store grills.

· Alert neighbors to bear activity.

If you encounter a bear

The NC Wildlife Resources Commission provides these “bear wise” tips on what to do if encountering a bear:

Do not approach the bear. Quietly move away and leave the area.
If you are a safe distance away from the bear, make loud noises, shout, or bang pots and pans together to scare it away.
Give the bear a clear escape route.

About Community Bulletin
Mountain Xpress posts selected news and information of local interest as a public service for our readers. To submit press releases and other community material for possible publication, email news@mountainx.com.

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

One thought on “With bears in Asheville backyards, be ‘BearWise’ about managing trash

  1. Lou

    There remain entitled, thoughtless humans in this city who care not what consequences their actions bring. I think anyone who leaves trash out the night before pickup should be issued a hefty fine. I will gladly volunteer my time to turn those buttheads in.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.