Lake Tahoe town again puts off bear trash rules

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RENO — The new general manager at Incline Village is defending putting off until fall any vote on a proposal to mandate wildlife-resistant trash containers to help stem bear problems on Lake Tahoe’s north shore.

Steven Pinkerton, general manager of the Incline Village General Improvement District, says the garbage issue has divided the upscale community and needs more study.

Jack Robb, the outgoing chairman of the Nevada Wildlife Commission, is among those criticizing yet another delay in the mandatory trash bins that wildlife biologists say are the best way to keep the bears at bay. He said it’s “very frustrating” because it’s the people and their trash — not the animals themselves — who are responsible for the bear conflicts.

“As I’ve said before, we do not have a bear issue in the Tahoe Basin. We have a people issue,” he told the Reno Gazette-Journal.

The proposed rules would require all homes, condominiums and businesses in the Incline area to use bear-resistant trash containers or face fines. The monthly cost of standard curbside residential trash service would rise from $20.84 to $28.10, a nearly 35 percent increase.

The district’s trustees had been scheduled to discuss the matter last week before Pinkerton pushed consideration back until fall. The Incline Village board also had postponed a decision on the trash issue in March, partly to allow for participation from Pinkerton, who started his job in late April.

Pinkerton said little has changed over the ensuing three months, with some insisting tighter trash controls are the only way to address mounting problems between people and black bears and others describing the step as a heavy-handed and unnecessary imposition by government.

“There are groups that feel very strongly that containerizing the trash can reduce human and wildlife conflicts and others that feel very strongly that’s not the case,” Pinkerton said. “It’s very divisive. There are strong feelings on both sides. It needs more dialogue and more research.”


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