A recent incident in which a bear got into a wildlife-resistant trash container on County Road 203 highlights why the containers are called "wildlife-resistant" and not "bear-proof."
Wildlife-proof Dumpsters are another story, but there's not a plastic residential trash container made durable enough to be "proven" in keeping a large, powerful, well-motivated and well-practiced black bear from getting at its contents.
In seven years, I've heard of just three incidents of black bears accessing wildlife-resistant trash containers, so a bear destroying one is highly unusual, especially considering the high number of these containers in use in other Colorado communities.
Wildlife-resistant containers and all-metal wildlife-proof Dumpsters are brought by manufacturers to West Yellowstone, Mont., for testing using captive grizzly bears. Those that pass muster are certified and rated for effectiveness, as have been the wildlife-resistant trash containers made available to residents by city and county waste providers. For more information about the testing program, go to www.lwwf.org.
When latched and used properly, wildlife-resistant trash containers are overwhelmingly effective in keeping bears out of your trash. As with anything, there are rare exceptions, but the benefits of these containers far outweigh the alternative - as the 14 residents near 32nd Street who had to clean up trash strewn overnight by bears can attest.
Bryan Peterson, director, Bear Smart Durango