BearWise

Communities

Why Be BearWise?

First and foremost, BearWise communities reduce human-bear conflicts.

BearWise communities are not only safer for people and bears, they also can avoid liability if a person is injured by a bear.

EXAMPLES OF NEIGHBORLY COEXISTENCE WITH BLACK BEARS

At least 21 communities throughout North America apply BearWise practices, resulting in fewer bear conflicts. For example:

  • Hurlburt Air Field in Okaloosa County lessened human-bear conflicts by 70%.
  • Wingfield North in Seminole County;  St. Teresa and Alligator Point in Franklin County; and Ave Maria in Collier County all saw bear conflicts drop soon after adopting BearWise practices.
  • Hog Wild BBQ in Carrabelle, Florida, secured their restaurant dumpster with modified lids and cut the number of bear encounters significantly.

How to create a BearWise community

Step 1: Investigate!

Are Bears Getting Into Garbage & Other Food?

Look for garbage, birdfeeders, pet food, and greasy barbecue grills that attract bears craving calories.

Are Local Authorities Getting Calls About Bears?

Fish and wildlife biologists, conservation officers or law enforcement officers may help you assess the issues in your community.

Step 2: Organize!

Talk to Your Neighbors and Organize

Discuss bear issues with your neighbors. When you are ready to take action, contact your local fish and game agency, community leaders and trash haulers.

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BearWise Toolkit

BEARWISE ORDINANCES

Many BearWise Communities have drafted and passed ordinances (i.e., regulations) that support BearWise behavior. The ordinances address such issues as wildlife-resistant trash storage, pet food storage, necessity for clean barbecue grills and bear-resistant deployment of bird feeders.
Download the Sample BearWise Ordinances for help with developing BearWise Ordinances.
Other Examples of BearWise Ordinances:

  • Lake County, Florida Bear Ordinance
  • Seminole County, Florida Bear Ordinance
  • Santa Rosa County, Florida Bear Ordinance
  • Boulder, Colorado Bear Ordinance
  • Eagle County, Colorado Bear Ordinance
  • Gatlinburg, Tennessee Bear Ordinance
  • Pitkin County, Colorado Bear Ordinance
  • Vail, Colorado Bear Ordinance

BEARWISE SIGNS AND OTHER MEDIA

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BEARWISE SIGN EXAMPLES (COMING SOON)