Fremont County Needs a Bear-Resistant Container Ordinance

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Fremont County Needs a Bear-Resistant Container Ordinance

By Jean Bjerke, Island Park

UPDATE: Two Grizzlies Killed In Fremont County by IDFG. Click Here to Read a Local’s Response and IDFG’s Official Statement.

In a meeting on August 7, 2023, Commissioners Discuss Implementation of Bear-Resistant Container Ordinance and Take Under 60-Day Advisement

CLICK HERE to view the draft text Fremont County Bear-Resistant Ordinance

Grizzlies and black bears are on the move with their cubs. They’re hungry and looking for food to fuel cubs’ rapid growth to 150-200lbs by the end of their first year. Unfortunately, many of these bears are finding food in the trash and pet food left out by residents and visitors in Fremont County. The growth in human residents around Island Park and Ashton has created conditions for more and more dangerous encounters with bears.

We need to protect these magnificent icons of wilderness, as well as protecting the safety of our citizens and visitors, most of whom treasure our wildlife and love to see bears in the wild. We need an ordinance to require homeowners and businesses to store their trash in bear-resistant containers or structures.

Last year the sheriff, the mayor of Island Park, and Idaho Department of Fish and Game officials all attended a Fremont County Commission meeting in support of an ordinance, but the commissioners decided to postpone action.

I implore the Commission to schedule action on this issue soon. If you agree, please contact the commissioners at their emails below or call their County offices at 208-624-4271.

Scott Kamachi, Chair:
Blair Dance:
Rick Hill:

Sheriff Len Humphries:

Every year there are more bear incidents in Island Park, and some have led to bear attacks, which can be unpredictable and very dangerous.

Just one year ago, Idaho Fish and Game had to kill five grizzly bears in Island Park, and euthanize a black bear at a local campground a few weeks later – all due to bears becoming food-conditioned to human trash and a danger to humans. Island Park’s issues with killing bears made the national news – not what we want to be known for. In September 2023, two more grizzlies were killed just east of Ashton after becoming food-conditioned and a danger to people.

The best solution to keeping bears and people safe is simply to eliminate attractants like food and trash. And the best way to do that is through an ordinance requiring that all trash be stored in certified bear-resistant containers.

Jean Bjerke
President, Board of Directors
Henrys Fork Wildlife Alliance