Vital Ground Helps Bear Proof Waste Collection Sites

September, 13 2017  |  by kevin Back »

This city of Troy, Montana, and Lincoln County are working to permanently shut down waste collection sites with a long history of black bears climbing into dumpsters and eating garbage and rubbish.

Stuart Strahl, president of The Vital Ground Foundation

Unfortunately, as many bear enthusiasts know, the outcome is typically disastrous for bears that become habituated to human foods and waste.

That’s why The Vital Ground Foundation partnered with the city of Troy, a small community located in the heart of the Cabinet-Yaak Ecosystem, to help eliminate conflicts between bears and humans in an area where science shows that less than 50 grizzlies remain.

Vital Ground provided grants to the city as incentives to permanently close two waste-collection sites and to build a brand new, bear-proofed facility. The new waste collection center was completed and opened last year.

Thanks to Vital Ground’s supporters and contributors who helped bear proof and electrify this facility, the city of Troy and Lincoln County are working to close two additional, unsecured sites, to better provide safety for people and for protection of black bears and threatened grizzlies.

Former Troy, Montana, garbage collection facility

(Top photo) Vital Ground President Stuart Strahl at Troy, Montana’s new waste collection facility. Photo by Ryan Lutey. (Above) As most bear enthusiasts know, the phrase “A fed bear is a dead bear” rings true when humans and bears frequently come into contact with human foods and garbage. This unsecured, non-electrified garbage collection facility north of Troy, Montana, is now closed. Photo by Kevin Rhoades.

Although Vital Ground’s primary efforts are to conserve private lands for grizzly bears and other wildlife, in 2014 we made a strategic decision to support programs that reduce conflicts between bears and humans, particularly in areas where we have a vigorous presence.

Vital Ground has invested substantial resources in the Troy area to help connect the landscape and protect bears and other wildlife through land-acquisition projects. A few recent examples include the Yaak Mountain Acquisition, our Alvord Lake Community Forest, and this year’s Wild River Project.

Troy, Montana's new waste collection site

Troy’s new waste collection facility will help keep out black bears and threatened grizzly bears. Photo by Gael Bissell.