By Kole Stewart – Bear Wise Jackson Hole Program Manager
It’s been a busy summer for the Bear Wise Jackson Hole (BWJH) partnership.
In the last few months alone, BWJH has had the opportunity to attend over a dozen events aimed at reducing human-bear conflict in Teton County, including charging bear and bear spray deployment demonstrations and education presentations. The BWJH partnership has also played an important role in coordinating outreach efforts around the valley.
The follow are some of BWJH’s major successes this summer:
- 520 people trained on the proper use of bear spray using the “charging bear demonstration”.
- 13 events attended this spring/summer (e.g. Ecofair, Old Bills, HOA meetings, presentations) with approximately 4500 participants. BWJH provided education on coexisting with wild bears at these events. If you’d like to have us present at your HOA, please let us know!
- BWJH assisted in distributing more than 120 cans of free bear spray to participants (hunters, hiking groups) at select events.
- The partnership reached thousands of Teton County residents through bulk mailings, fliers, presentations and advertisements on local radio.
So are our efforts paying off?
While we still have a ways to go, we’re pleased to report that portions of Teton County that have been under garbage-storage regulations for more than a decade are now approximately 98% compliant, while areas new to regulations are approximately 80% compliant. We estimate areas within the newer Town of Jackson “Bear Conflict Zone” are already close to 70% compliant.
We view these numbers as a major step in the right direction. They show substantial increases from much lower compliance rates earlier this spring. We’d like to thank our community for stepping up to reduce the potential for bear-human conflicts in the Jackson Hole area!