Before hysteria about bears prevails, we should consider what a new law would do, assuming it can be enforced. Do we really want to obligate the city to a new program that would involve hiring enforcement officers to look in people's backyards and in their trash cans? I really don't agree with punishing everyone in the city because of a perceived problem, which in my observation has not been serious for quite a while, including this year.
After the first day when bears did turn over the trash cans in our neighborhood, everyone started storing their garbage until pickup day. We have not had the problem since then. I think city residents should generally be commended for taking those steps.
The other question: Will this new law fix the "problem"? Bears leaving evidence in my neighborhood have much preferred to go for the yummy overflowing city park Dumpsters and local apricot trees. To stop providing an attraction to bears, we would have to go far beyond the individual waste bin: Stop composting, cut down all the fruit trees, close the city parks because Dumpsters would have to be removed, close restaurants that have a daily waste, outlaw hummingbird feeders, etc.
Is the river an attraction? Let's shut it off!
I think Bear Smart has done well, maybe too well, at educating the public. Nobody I know wants to have bears lurking around in his or her backyard, but it is a complicated issue. It is not correctly addressed by passing new laws that would not really solve the problem and would make many people violators at the outset.
Ken Beegles, Durango