Help the Rossland community become Bear Smart by filling out a survey. (Jim Bailey photo)

Help the Rossland community become Bear Smart by filling out a survey. (Jim Bailey photo)

Rosslanders asked to support Bear Smart program

Rossland residents asked to fill out a human-bear interaction survey to help become bear smart

In an effort to become a Bear Smart Community, the City of Rossland is urging residents to bear proof their homes and properties and take a minute to fill out a survey.

The social science survey will provide a more robust picture of human-bear conflict and perceptions within the community.

Living in a Bear Smart community is not something that happens by accident or without hard work from a few, commitment from many, and a buy-in from everyone.

Rossland is a wilderness community, which makes human encounters with bears all but unavoidable. Unfortunately, without intentional advocacy on behalf of the bears, the bears always lose.

Throughout B.C., communities of dedicated and compassionate people are joining forces to help reduce human-bear conflicts and to protect, respect, and advocate for bears.

“It’s important to understand that there is no need to reinvent the wheel. Many communities have successfully launched effective Bear Smart organizations,” said Sylvia Dolson, the executive director of the Get Bear Smart Society. “With the help of colleagues from all over North America, we have analyzed and synthesized what works and what doesn’t in order to provide the following guidelines that can help you start a Bear Smart movement in your community.”

BC has several recognized Bear Smart Communities including Castlegar, New Denver, Kamloops, Squamish, Lions Bay, Whistler, Port Alberni, Naramata, Coquitlam, and Port Hardy.

To qualify as a Bear Smart Community, municipalities must achieve six key pieces of Bear Smart Programming.

They include:

• Complete a bear hazard assessment.

• Prepare a human-bear conflict management plan that is designed to address the bear hazards and land-use conflicts identified in the previous step.

• Revise planning and decision-making documents to be consistent with the human-bear conflict management plan.

• Implement an effective education program directed at all sectors of the community.

• Develop and maintain an effective bear-proof municipal solid waste management system.

• Implement and enforce “Bear Smart” bylaws prohibiting the provision of food to bears as a result of intent, neglect or irresponsible management of attractants.

Rossland residents who participate in the survey will be entered into a draw for a $25 gift card to Hoopers.

The survey can be accessed at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/5F9LLHX and should take approximately 15 minutes.

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