INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Nevada wildlife officials are pressing officials at an upscale north Lake Tahoe community to require residents to have bear-proof trash cans, saying existing rules to address trash-raiding black bears have proven insufficient.
Trustees of the Incline Village General Improvement District took no action on the request last week, but plan to continue discussions on bears at an Oct. 30 meeting.
Nevada Department of Wildlife Director Tony Wasley told trustees that the vast majority of human-bear conflicts can be addressed by decreasing the availability of human garbage, the Reno Gazette-Journal reported.
“Ultimately, total removal of human food sources as an attractant for bears is the only way to avoid these types of human-bear conflicts,” he said.
Trustee Jim Hammerel agreed, saying the mandatory use of bear-resistant trash containers is the only way to effectively address a mounting problem.
But district Chairman Bruce Simonian said he’s in no rush to implement a requirement that could come at significant cost to residents by possibly boosting trash fees by nearly 30 percent.
“I’d like to take baby steps in moving forward with this,” he said. “What we have to do is put everything in perspective.”
The debate comes at the close of a summer that saw passions run particularly high among Incline Village residents after state wildlife officials killed three “problem” bears. Another two bears died after being tranquilized.
Local jurisdictions around Lake Tahoe already have rules on the books to address problems posed by trash-raiding bears, but many residents do not think they go far enough.
Simonian said he would prefer the district enforce existing laws that penalize residents for being careless with their trash. If that does not work, he said, it might be time to get a little tougher.
Hammerel said he was disappointed over the board’s “very lukewarm” reception to mandating bear-proof trash containers.
“I think we had a chance to stand up and be a real leader,” he said. “Personally, I feel like we didn’t stand up and make that move.”