Wildlife & Garbage

The primary cause of human and black bear conflict is the availability of unsecured human food sources such as trash, bird seed or domestic fruit.

Once a bear becomes accustomed to being around people and to relying on the easy, high-calorie meals found in trash cans, the probability of conflict increases, along with that of the bear being killed.


City of Durango Wildlife Ordinance

City of Durango Ordinance O-2018-6 establishes regulations for the security and placement of residential and commercial wildlife trash containers in order to help reduce human-wildlife conflict:

  • It is unlawful for any property owner or occupant within the city to fail to prevent wildlife from removing or scattering trash
    • All trash and recycling containers must be secured or stored to prevent wildlife from accessing their contents
    • All residences within the priority wildlife areas identified below are required to have and maintain wildlife-resistant trash containers

Code Enforcement

Failure to clear scattered trash within 24 hours is considered a violation subject to the following penalties:

  • Initial violation: Automatic delivery of a wildlife-resistant trash container to a residential property. One-time delivery fee of $100 and $4.24 monthly fee for a period of four and a half years
  • First violation after initial violation: $100 fine
  • Subsequent violations: $200

Please call City of Durango Code Enforcement at (970) 375-4930 to report trash violations.

2018: 37 reports of scattered trash that resulted in violations

2019: 89 reports of scattered trash that resulted in violations

Request a Wildlife-Resistant Trash Container

Residents may request a wildlife-resistant trash container by calling (970) 375-5004.

Residents who receive a wildlife-resistant trash container will be charged $4.24 per month for a period of four and a half years.

If your City of Durango wildlife-resistant trash container is damaged, please call (970) 375-5004.



Colorado Parks and Wildlife Study

From 2011 - 2015, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) partnered with the City of Durango to study effective methods for reducing human-bear conflicts. View an overview of the CPW study (PPT), or a PDF version (PDF).

The study found that human-bear conflicts were increasing but that distributing wildlife-resistant trash containers reduced conflicts by 50%.

In 2018, the City began distributing full-automated wildlife-resistant trash containers to areas identified as having particularly high bear activity through the CPW study in two phases.


Businesses in Durango are responsible for ensuring that their trash containers are secured from bears and other wildlife. Additional trash collection services may be necessary during bear season.

During 2019, City of Durango commercial customers in the Phase 1 downtown corridor had Auto Locks fitted on their front load trash containers.
View Commercial Phase I map (PDF).

To request a wildlife-resistant trash container for your business, call the City of Durango at (970) 375-5004 or contact your service provider.

If your wildlife resistant trash container is damaged, please contact your service provider.

Additional Resources