Town proposes bear-resistant trash ordinance

New law aimed at restaurants

In spite of years of work in developing a strategy for co-existence with its bear population, Mammoth’s humans have no laws that require the use of bear boxes or bear-resistant trashcans.

In addition, the town does not have enforcement tools that such a law might allow.

In light of the absence of such laws, the Town Council began discussions on creating new measures that amend Mammoth’s current trash and garbage ordinance.

The discussion, which came before the council at its meeting on Wednesday, June 5, had to do with recurring bear problems caused by improper trash storage practices at some locations, according to a bill prepared by Public Works Director Ray Jarvis and Assistant Building Official Johnny Goetz.

“The proposed ordinance would address these issues by requiring any premises where trash, recyclables, or cooking waste is generated to use bear boxes or bear-resistant trash cans.”

The ordinance would also specify that violations of the law would constitute a nuisance, which would in turn give the town staff more options for enforcing the law.

At the heart of the proposed change was safety.

“Requiring the use of bear boxes and/or bear-resistant trash cans will help reduce opportunities for bears to eat trash, which in turn will help discourage bears from congregating in developed areas of Mammoth Lakes.

“This will help promote the safety of both bears and people,” the bill promised.