Take Action

Take Action

Protect black bears and keep your family and neighbors safe!

Day after day, year after year, black bears will continue their search for the necessary calories that will allow them to survive hibernation. They’re not going away, and neither are we. Groups like the City of Boulder, Boulder Bear Coalition, and Colorado Parks & Wildlife will continue to implement policies, programs, and produce educational materials in an attempt to reduce negative interactions with black bears, but those efforts will be in vain unless the Boulder community steps up to take action.

Because of Boulder’s close proximity to the foothills, black bears will inevitably wander into our urban areas each year. While we can’t keep them out of the city 100% of the time, we can discourage them from wanting to stay. And that’s the goal: if black bears meander into town, don’t let them get too comfortable. We as a community can be successful in protecting black bears and keeping our neighbors safe by doing one thing: removing the reason they want to come in. What’s the reason they wander into town? Food and shelter!

Bear comics created by Carly Hill for the Bears & People Project



DO secure your trash and compost from wildlife.


DON’T leave trash and compost out in a way that bears can easily access it.

If you live in the Bear Protection Ordinance zone, be sure to always latch your waste bins shut. If you reside outside of the Bear Protection Ordinance zone and want to lock down your trash more efficiently, ask your waste hauler to swap out your trash and compost bins for bear-resistant ones. It only costs an extra $3/month with Western Disposal!



DO haze bears away when they’re in urban areas.


DON’T let the bear feel comfortable around humans

Haze the bear away with loud noises (bang pots and pans together, yell, whistle, etc.) and wave your arms around to make yourself look bigger.



DO attract birds with flowers, bird boxes, and bird baths.


DON’T leave bird feeders out when bears are active (March – November)



DO harvest ripe fruit on your property. 


DON’T let fruit go to waste and attract urban wildlife

And don’t forget to pick up any fallen fruit, too. Need help? Contact the Community Fruit Rescue.


Rinse out your recyclables before putting them in the bin. It doesn’t matter if it’s only crumbs: if it smells like food, the bears will check it out.

Clean all food off your outdoor grill.

Don’t leave any pet food outdoors: cats, dogs, etc.

Remove any other edible attractants and safely store away indoors, in your garage, shed, or bear-proof enclosure.

Install electric fencing around beehives, chicken coops, or livestock pens. View Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s recommendations. *Please note: a permit is needed for electric fences within the city of Boulder*

Make your own Unwelcome Mats or install other deterrents to teach bears to stay away from urban areas.

Bear-proof your gardens and landscaping. Remove attractants like fruit trees or berry bushes near your home; pick garden vegetables as they ripen; avoid using blood meal and fish fertilizer in your garden; remove tall grasses and shrubs around your home (bears could use this as cover). View more tips in this home audit checklist >

Report trash violations through Inquire Boulder. Download the free iPhone or Google app or report through your computer. Prefer to stay anonymous? Enter in trash@boulderbearcoalition.org as the contact email.

Talk to your neighbors. Whether it be in person, over email, or through sites like NextDoor, keep an open dialogue with your neighbors and encourage everyone to bear-proof their homes.



Haze the bear away! At a safe distance, yell loudly, whistle, bang pots and pans together, and make loud noises. Never approach a black bear. The goal is to make the bear feel uncomfortable around humans. It may seem mean, but this will help keep bears out of trouble.

Contact one of these groups for assistance:

  • Colorado Parks & Wildlife (Northeast Region): 303-291-7227
  • Boulder non-emergency dispatch: 303-441-3333
  • Call 911 for emergencies

Talk to Colorado Parks & Wildlife about bear deterrents like electric fencing and unwelcome mats. Call 303-297-1192 or email kristin.cannon@state.co.us

Report non-active bear sightings to the City of Boulder’s Urban Wildlife Conservation Coordinator. Call 303-441-3004 or email mathesonv@bouldercolorado.gov. Please note: this is to help the city document bear activity. For immediate assistance, call the non-emergency dispatch line: 303-441-3333.



Volunteer with Boulder Bear Coalition: become a neighborhood ambassador, document trash violations with the Inquire Boulder app, hand out flyers, volunteer at events, or share your unique skills. Boulder Bear Coalition is a 501c3 nonprofit organization. Contact info@boulderbearcoalition.org.

Volunteer with the Community Fruit Rescue: host a harvest, volunteer at an existing harvest, transport equipment or fruit, or become a harvest leader. Community Fruit Rescue is a 501c3 nonprofit organization. Contact info@fruitrescue.org

Volunteer with the native forage buffer zone project: Assist Boulder Bear Coalition, the WILD Foundation, and Open Space & Mountain Parks by planting new rootstock, watering existing plants, and checking camera traps. Contact hill.melanielynn@gmail.com

Students: get the word out on campus. Hand out flyers and assist with other outreach efforts on campus, on University Hill, or through social media. Contact hill.melanielynn@gmail.com

Report trash violations: Download the free Inquire Boulder app for iPhone or Android (or use the desktop version) to document and report trash violations to Code Enforcement. This will help prevent bears from becoming habituated to trash and keep your neighborhood clean. Want to report anonymously? Use this email: trash@boulderbearcoalition.org.