Weak bears might miss a snack
SALT LAKE CITY – Bears will have to work harder to get the smelly leftovers in these trash bins.The Ashley National Forest near Vernal is introducing modified Dumpsters with a hefty steel plate instead of a flimsy vinyl cover.Campers will lift a 20-pound trap door on the steel lid to deposit their trash.”And we’re hoping the bears aren’t going to get smart enough to learn that,” forest spokesman Louis Haynes said.Some Forest Service campgrounds in Utah had to be closed last summer for trapping of nuisance bears, and a bear fatally mauled an 11-year-old boy in American Fork Canyon after dragging him out of his tent.At the Ashley forest, about 175 miles east of Salt Lake City, trash haulers K&K Sanitation Inc. of Roosevelt made the Dumpster modifications free of charge.The problem with the old design was that bears learned to jump on the vinyl tops and collapse them. Then they had plenty of food for the picking.”The modified Dumpsters should make that almost impossible,” forest recreation officer Kim Bartell said.To make it more difficult, the trap doors have a spring-loaded handle that requires finger dexterity, like a car door, to operate.Trash containers are only half of the equation. Campers still must use them.”Campers should not leave food, garbage or other attractants like soap or toothpaste around their campsite. If food isn’t being prepared or eaten, it should be stored inside a vehicle,” said Mike Elson, deputy district ranger.Bears’ acute sense of smell can pick up the odor of even small crumbs in a tent or grease in a fire pit.K&K owner Elvin Kettle was distributing the modified Dumpsters Friday to all campgrounds along the south slope of the Uinta mountains, from Rock Creek to Uinta Canyon.
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