CONFLICT PREVENTION PROJECT:

Clearwater Valley Bear Smart

Engaging the Clearwater Valley community to address the root causes of conflict.

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Swan Valley, Montana mountains, forest, and field
Grizzly testing bear-proof garbage can
29575384658_b1544f3500_o Swan Valley, Montana mountains, forest, and field Grizzly testing bear-proof garbage can

Clearwater Valley Bear Smart PROJECT BRIEF

The town of Seeley Lake, Montana, was seeing more black and grizzly bears become food-conditioned. In an effort to prevent future conflicts and make the area safer for both people and wildlife, a group of concerned citizens formed the Clearwater Valley Bear Smart Working Group (CVBS) to help the town become an Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee approved bear-smart community. Along the Clearwater River and encircled by the Swan and Mission Mountains, the community is cooperating with Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks and other community partners, including Vital Ground, to assess attractant hazards like livestock, chicken coops and fruit trees.

Through developing a continuing education program, providing toolkits to vacation rental managers, sharing knowledge in the local news and tabling at community events, CVBS is bringing bear awareness to the forefront of the town and surrounding area’s collective imagination. With continued support from partners like Vital Ground, CVBS plans to develop and implement a conflict management plan that would expand the use of bear-resistant garbage cans and formalize bear-smart policies and regulations for the town among other actions. Their ongoing commitment to coexistence will help the 50 to 60 grizzlies who currently enjoy the valley as their seasonal home continue to do so safely.

Clearwater Valley Bear Smart at a glance

  • Making Seeley Lake a bear smart community
  • Working with community partners and landowners to secure attractants
  • Developing waste and conflict management plans
  • Providing education and tools for community members to coexist with wildlife