WWA Launches Jackson Hole Bear Solutions

New Program Delivers Bear-Resistant Trash Cans to Residents Regardless of Ability to Pay


Jackson Hole Bear Solutions, hosted by Wyoming Wildlife Advocates, is partnering with the
National Elk Refuge/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to store and deliver bear-resistant trash cans at reduced or zero cost to the residents of Teton County, WY.

JACKSON, WY — Studies have demonstrated that human trash is one of the leading
attractants for bears and a significant cause of human/bear conflict. Such incidents not only endanger the community and property, but are also frequently deadly for bears. Jackson Hole Bear Solutions, a new program hosted by local nonprofit Wyoming Wildlife Advocates, aims to remove barriers and improve access to bear-resistant trash cans for all residents of Teton County — regardless of their financial status.

The program seeks to empower all residents to adhere to local regulations as well as take responsibility
for their part in living alongside bears. “Residential trash is the primary attractant luring bears into our neighborhoods. Distributing bear-resistant trash cans to as many residents as possible is the first step we need to take in order to reduce human-bear conflict, saving bears’ lives and keeping our neighborhoods safe,” explains Drew Gath, Program Manager of Jackson Hole Bear Solutions.

Thanks to the enthusiastic support of the National Elk Refuge/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, JH Bear
Solutions will have space to store 280 new bear-resistant trash cans between their arrival in Teton County and their distribution to local residents and businesses who do not currently possess these cans. Being able to store the first shipment of cans in an area so close to initial distribution zones allowed the program to move forward with this first shipment of bear-resistant trash cans and to begin distribution of these cans at this critical time of year — as bears are emerging from hibernation and looking for food sources.

“The National Elk Refuge is pleased to partner with Jackson Hole Bear solutions to support responsible
waste management practices that promote human and bear safety in the Jackson Hole community,”
states Frank Durbian, Project Leader, National Elk Refuge.

Teton County, WY passed updates to the Wildlife Feeding provision of the Land Development Regulations on April 12th, 2022, prohibiting residents from allowing wildlife to access attractants on their property. JH Bear Solutions was created — thanks to generous philanthropic support — to reduce bear/human conflict and provide resources to residents to adhere to the new county ordinance.

Jackson Hole Bear Solutions is developing a plan alongside the three waste-hauling businesses in the
county to make bear-resistant trash cans accessible to as many residents as possible. The program
envisions its role as reducing any gaps in can availability by accounting for supply chain challenges, creating a program to subsidize the costs of bear-resistant trash cans to those residents who may not be
able to afford the added cost of a bear-resistant trash can replacement, and distributing bear-resistant
trash cans to individual residences in instances where the resident can use their own can with a
trash-hauling service or for individuals who bring their own trash to a transfer station.

“Access to materials shouldn’t be a limiting factor in the pursuit of bear-human coexistence. We care
about the safety of the people of Teton County and the survival of our bears. We want to make it as easy
as possible for residents and businesses to secure attractants so our community can be a place where
both people and bears can meet their needs without negative interactions,” says Kristin Combs,
Executive Director of Wyoming Wildlife Advocates.

The groundbreaking program will also offer other resources including: materials and installation
assistance for electric fencing to secure attractants such as apiaries, compost piles, and chicken coops.
To request a bear-resistant trash can or other attractant-securing material, residents can visit
jhbearsolutions.org to fill out a request form.

The program is recruiting motivated volunteers to help survey residents, distribute bear-resistant cans
across the county, set up electric fences to secure attractants, and more — interested individuals can sign
up online at jhbearsolutions.org.

For more information, please contact JH Bear Solutions Program Manager Drew Gath at (307) 274-8391
or drew@jhbearsolutions.org, or Kristin Combs, Executive Director of Wyoming Wildlife Advocates, at
(307) 413-4116 or kristin@wyowild.org.