There’s a reason why Snoqualmie city officials ask (rather plead with) residents NOT to put out their garbage containers until the morning of their collection day during spring and summer months. And it’s a simple five letter word: BEARS.
Black bears are smart creatures with an amazing sense of smell and incredible memories, a “super hero-like” combination for any hungry animal who’s had human develop their land and become depend upon them for food.
Just one time of grabbing a midnight garbage snack on your street and bears are destined to return. If they get your garbage once and you then decide to put the garbage container behind a fence, they may climb to get it. And they’re skilled climbers.
Bears become conditioned creatures of habit, associating humans with food, which can lead to them to be less fearful. The Washington State Department of Wildlife says bears memories are so good, that even after trapping and relocating nuisance bears, some will travel over 100 miles to return to their human food source.
So if at all possible, wait until the morning of your garbage pickup to put out cans, and bring them in as soon as possible. Fish and Wildlife officials say it’s one easy step to stop or prevent your neighborhood from becoming an all night diner for our resident black bear population – and save you a huge morning street cleanup.
Snoqualmie Ridge resident, Gisli Olafsson, shared this video footage of bears feasting on garbage along Douglas Ave near SE Cochrane Street. It was shot around 10:30PM Sunday, June 2, 2013.
Olafsson commented that he thinks the bears know Waste Management’s garbage collection schedule better than some of us – and that this was the third garbage can the two bears had gotten to when he and his son drove up, saying it looked like they were having “a nice evening dinner.”
For more information on living with black bears visit the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife website.