Wildlife & Garbage
The primary cause of human and black bear conflict is the availability of unsecured human food sources such as trash, bird seed or domestic fruit. Once a bear becomes accustomed to being around people and to relying on the easy, high-calorie meals found in trash cans, the probability of conflict increases, along with that of the bear being killed.
- City of Durango Wildlife Ordinance
- Code enforcement and reporting
- Request a wildlife-resistant trash container
- More information
City of Durango Ordinance O-2018-6 establishes regulations for the security and placement of residential and commercial wildlife trash containers in order to help reduce human-wildlife conflict:
- It is unlawful for any property owner or occupant within the city to fail to prevent wildlife from removing or scattering trash.
- All trash and recycling containers must be secured or stored to prevent wildlife from accessing their contents.
- All residences within the priority wildlife areas are required to have and maintain wildlife-resistant trash containers.
Failure to clear scattered trash within 24 hours is considered a violation subject to the following penalties:
- Initial violation: Automatic delivery of a wildlife-resistant trash container to a residential property. One-time delivery fee of $100 and $4.24 monthly fee for a period of four and a half years
- First violation after initial violation: $100 fine
- Subsequent violations: $200
To report trash violations, please call City of Durango Code Enforcement at (970) 375-4930.
2018: 37 reports of scattered trash that resulted in violations
2019: 89 reports of scattered trash that resulted in violations
To request a wildlife-resistant trash container, please call (970) 375-5004
Residents who receive a wildlife-resistant trash container will be charged $4.35 per month for a period of four and a half years.
If your City of Durango wildlife-resistant trash container is damaged, please call (970) 375-5004.
Businesses in Durango are responsible for ensuring their trash containers are secured from bears and other wildlife. Additional trash collection services may be necessary during bear season.
In 2019, City of Durango commercial customers in the Phase 1 downtown corridor had Auto Locks fitted on their front load trash containers.
View Commercial Phase I map (PDF).
To request a wildlife-resistant trash container for your business, call the City of Durango at (970) 375-5004 or contact your service provider.
If your wildlife resistant trash container is damaged, please contact your service provider.
- For more information about the City’s wildlife-resistant trash container project, view this presentation (PDF)
- For more information about trash and recycling services visit the Trash & Recycling page or call (970) 375-5004
- For information on being "Bear Smart," visit Bear Smart Durango
- Find out how to compost responsibly in bear country (PDF)
- For information on fruit gleaning, contact The Good Food Collective
Colorado Parks and Wildlife study on reducing conflicts with bears
From 2011-2015, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) partnered with the City of Durango to study effective methods for reducing human-bear conflicts. View an overview of the CPW study (PPT), or a PDF version (PDF).
The study found that human-bear conflicts were increasing but that distributing wildlife-resistant trash containers reduced conflicts by 50%. In 2018, the City began distributing full-automated wildlife-resistant trash containers to areas identified as having particularly high bear activity through the CPW study in two phases.