JACKSON, Wyo. — The Teton County Board of County Commissioners voted on Tuesday to update the Land Development Regulations (LDRs), updating regulations on feeding wildlife and keeping wildlife attractants.

The update removes the two current bear conflict zones, requiring bear-proof trash cans and dumpsters countywide rather than in the two limited areas. The new regulations do not include the Town of Jackson which follows its own regulations.

The new regulations include:

  • Prohibition of feeding for all wildlife, not just the listed species in the current section which are – antelope, bighorn sheep, deer, elk, moose, mountain goats, bobcats, black bears grizzly bears, mountain lions, lynx, wild bison, wolves, coyotes, foxes and racoons
  • Bird feeders shall be unavailable to wildlife at all times of the year
  • Ornamental non-native fruit-bearing trees, not harvested for food, shall not be planted
  • Existing ornamental, non-native fruit trees shall be managed with harvesting or fencing
  • Additional language for ensuring attractants are kept in bear-resistant enclosures such as grease from food service, chicken coops and feed, apiaries, compost, livestock and fish food
  • Design requirements for bear-resistant enclosures included in LDRs

The new regulations are effective July 1, 2022, with an enforcement date of Nov.1, 2022. The Board decided to create this enforcement buffer so residents and businesses have ample time to get into compliance.

In about 40 minutes of public comment, a number of local business owners, non-profit organizations and residents spoke up in support of the amendments while sharing concerns about a few of the details including compliance and the cost of new bear-proof containers.

A new program, called Jackson Hole Bear Solutions from Wyoming Wildlife Advocates is aimed at helping residents and trash hauling companies comply with the new regulations.

Drew Gath, program manager of Jackson Hole Bear Solutions spoke during public comment. Gath explained that the program is working to reduce the financial burden on residents, now required to own a bear-proof trash can.

According to the staff report, an estimated 2,000 rollout containers—at approximately $400 apiece, and several hundred dumpsters—costing between $250-$1000 for modification or $4000-5000 for replacement, will need to be replaced or modified. These costs are currently factored into monthly fees for trash hauling and presumably passed on to the consumer.

Bear-proof trash can. Photo: Nick Sulzer // Buckrail

“Obviously a good chunk of residents will be able to afford these cans or can rent one through their trash hauler,” Gath said during the meeting.

But for residents who can’t afford to purchase or rent one, Jackson Hole Bear Solutions has created a can loaning program with a $50 rental fee for indefinite use.

“Our main goal is to make these cans available to every household and in cases where a household can’t afford the $50 fee, we will give them a can without a fee,” Gath said.

Gath said a shipment of 280 Kodiak cans is set to arrive Thursday. Each can cost $298 and the National Elk Refuge has agreed to store this shipment and future shipments during distribution cycles.

Jackson Hole Bear Solutions is also willing to facilitate the collection of the old trash cans, either distributing them to other communities that don’t require bear-proof trash cans or finding recycling solutions.

Farmstead Cider will also continue to collect crab apples for free to be used in their cider.

Bear-proof trash cans are already required in many areas of the county. The new regulations just expand it countywide.

Grizzly 399 and her four cubs got themselves into trouble last fall, venturing into residential areas, seeking unsecured bear attractants like trash, livestock feed and bird feed. Photo: Nick Sulzer // Buckrail

As far as violations go, most will be handled administratively. The planning director or code compliance officer will send a notice to the landowner making them aware of the violation.

According to the staff report, it is extremely rare for a matter to elevate through a hearing up to the courts. Most code enforcement cases are complaint-driven, meaning residents of the community submit a complaint to the Planning and Building Services Department for review.

Buckrail @ Lindsay

Lindsay Vallen is a Community News Reporter covering a little bit of everything; with an interest in politics, wildlife, and amplifying community voices. Originally from the east coast, Lindsay has called Wilson, Wyoming home since 2017. In her free time, she enjoys snowboarding, hiking, cooking, and completing the Jackson Hole Daily crosswords.