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

Grizzly bears are magnificent icons of wilderness. We must protect them, as well as protect 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.

In 2022 and 2023, the sheriff, the mayor of Island Park, and Idaho Department of Fish and Game officials attended Fremont County Commission meetings in support of an ordinance, but the commissioners have decided to postpone action for further consideration.

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

In 2022, 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.

Any food reward teaches bears to approach people. We must 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. This ordinance will not only save the lives of the people who live and recreate in Fremont County but also will prevent the tragic killing of our precious wildlife.