- Public Works
- Environmental and Engineering Division
- Wildlife Management
- What can I do to help keep bears in Telluride safe?
- Always keep your polycart (trash can) locked.
- Bag trash tightly to contain odors.
- Clean polycart with a bleach solution.
- Keep pet food inside.
- Keep barbecue grills clean.
- Never leave food in a vehicle.
- Lock downstairs doors and windows.
If bears do not forage successfully in town, they will then move on to areas that provide them with the food they need to hibernate through the winter. Houses have been “broken into” by bears looking for food. Imagine the unpleasant surprise of coming home to a bear eating ice cream out of your freezer and the mess they created to locate the tastiest items!
Keeping the town clean also serves to minimize skunks and rodents who thrive near humans because of our messy ways.
- What do I do if I see a bear?
Colorado Parks and Wildlife has many great resources about safely recreating in Bear country. Please look through this information carefully before you head out to hike or camp so you can safely enjoy the areas in and around Telluride.
- Why is there a fee for keeping my trash can/dumpster unlocked?
Keeping our trash secured and out of reach of bears is one of the best ways to keep bears from becoming habituated to humans and becoming aggressive around human food sources. The fines are in place to help encourage everyone to do the right thing when it comes to keeping bears and people safe.
Find more information about successfully living in Bear Country with Colorado Parks and Wildlife
Keeping You & Telluride's Wildlife Safe
Recognizing the tremendous enrichment that we gain by the abundance and proximity of wildlife near our town, the goal of management is to promote co-existence in a manner that does not endanger the animal or humans. Many species of wildlife live in and around Telluride - beaver, black bear, mountain lions, lynx, and skunks to name a few. Currently, Telluride actively manages just two: bears and beavers.
Monitoring Local Beaver Dams
Managing beavers in Telluride requires keeping an eye on dams that back up waters from the San Miguel River and keeping stout wire around favorite trees. It is the job of beavers to graze on willows, aspen and cottonwoods. They often graze quite heavily on these trees for food and to keep their front teeth filed down to a reasonable length. This does not kill the trees or willows, which thrive on pruning, but it certainly changes their appearance - where once there was a tree, there now is a shrub that doesn’t have the same landscape appeal!
Dams in the river are a more serious issue on two levels. Left unattended, the dams could back up water into areas of town that are required for other uses, like the post office or someone’s home. Even those that don’t create an immediate flooding hazard, can exacerbate flooding during a large precipitation event. So, town staff is currently experimenting with a number of methods designed to allow beaver to build their dams and allow humans to control the water level behind them. When these methods fail and to minimize adverse impacts to the sensitive riparian corridor, lots of back-breaking labor is required to take down dams by hand. When even this fails, deconstruction machinery is carefully used to remove them.