Letter to the editor: feeding the bears?

BEARDUMPSTERMammoth is Feeding the Bears  by Cindy Walters

I’ve been fortunate enough to be living in Mammoth for the last month on a sabbatical. Prior to this time, I’ve visited Mammoth for years and years and have been under the impression that the town does a wonderful job of “not feeding the bears.” However, since I’ve been living here, I’ve realized this may not be the case.

I often walk the bike path from Eagle Lodge down to Lodestar Drive and back. In the past month, I’ve been shocked to see the same garbage dumpster raided by bears on numerous occasions. I’m sure there are other dumpsters in town that have problems, but almost every time I walk past the dumpster at the end of Lodestar Drive, I see trash on the ground and bike path, and evidence of bears (tracks and scat).

I’m no bear expert, but I’ve read the recent articles about how well Yosemite has done with its efforts to stop feeding their bears, and I’ve also heard that bears that are habituated to human food often have more confrontational or otherwise negative interactions with humans.

What is Mammoth Disposal or the town doing to fix this problem? From my perspective on the ground — the answer appears to be “nothing.”

For a community that prides itself on not feeding its bears, Mammoth’s wildlife sure appear to be feasting on human garbage an awful lot.

10 Responses to Letter to the editor: feeding the bears?

  1. Rick O'Brien April 8, 2014 at 9:19 pm #

    When I couldn’t figure out who was stealing my tomatoes last year, I bought a 40 dollar video camera from Harbor Freight and caught the S.O.B….Mama opossum and her kids. My point is, put a camera on the dumpster & like Roy said, FINE the guilty party.

  2. Roy April 8, 2014 at 1:38 pm #

    A fine of a couple hundred dollars for each occurrence could put a stop to it pretty fast…There is no excuse to be so lazy you can’t dispose of trash properly..

  3. Dan Watson April 7, 2014 at 2:55 pm #

    This is one of the biggest problem locations for trash not being properly handled in the Town of Mammoth Lakes. The dumpster is secured in a small building with key coded lock. As “Don’t Feed our Bears” states, the problem is the renters or housekeepers or residents of the large homes that have access to the dumpster who either don’t know or don’t care about proper bear management. The Town’s Wildlife Specialist, Steve Searles, has been in contact with the property manager several times to no avail. A local resident has posted a notice on the door advising the users of the need to secure the lock. Since this is a community dumpster used by multiple residents and their guests, there is not one person to be held accountable. The Town’s Code Enforcement Officer has been notified and additional efforts will be made with the Homeowners Association to seek compliance by educating residents and guests.

    • sugar magnolia April 8, 2014 at 9:24 am #

      I would think there is a HOA that could, and should, be held accountable. Fines are appropriate and hopefully provided for within town ordinances.

  4. Really? April 5, 2014 at 8:40 pm #

    I also live in the area, dog s**t is a bigger problem then the “occasional” dumpster raids by the bears.

  5. h April 5, 2014 at 6:24 pm #

    I thought this is what the taxpayers are paying Mr. Searles to keep an eye on? Please correct me if I am wrong but I thought his contractual salary is $60,000 per year?

    • Ken Warner April 6, 2014 at 8:39 am #

      Steve is not a garbage man that has to clean up after careless people who can’t keep a dumpster closed properly.

      The Dog Worshipers think their dogs waste is a sign of love.

      • h April 7, 2014 at 6:03 pm #

        Its not about picking up trash – I thought his job was educating our citizens? If residents are leaving dumpsters open as Ms. Walters indicated, Mr. Searles should be notifying these individuals of the problems they are causing. Certainly after Ms. Walter’s letter was on this blog and in the Sheet, I would expect that Mr. Searles has alerted these individuals of what is happening. Lets not be apologists for Mr. Searles when the truth is obvious.

      • Ken Warner April 8, 2014 at 12:06 am #

        Yes, your expanded and clarified post is correct. I thought you were asking that Steve pick up the trash.

        There was a site with a similar problem on my street. Trash would remain scattered around for days at times. The property owners didn’t pick up the trash. I was going to add that Steve should have contacted the property owners who manage the the property referred to in the but I forgot to put that in my post.

        You are right.

  6. Don't Feed Our Bears April 4, 2014 at 4:51 pm #

    I live near this dumpster and also see garbage scattered around it constantly. It is the renters in those giant homes who have no idea about bears and proper garbage management who leave the dumpster unlocked, or even more incredible, they leave their garbage next to the dumpster out in the open. The garbage gets raided by bears on almost a weekly basis, which is both terrible for our bears and makes the beautiful neighborhood ugly.


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