Bear Sheds Help Keep Wildlife Wild!

Published on April 28, 2015

Tips to Help Keep Tahoe Beautiful and Safe

Placer County is reminding Eastern County residents and visitors that bear-resistant enclosures or bear sheds help keep wildlife wild and prevents animals from scavenging through trash cans.  

Litter strewn about streets by wildlife is not only unsightly, but also unsanitary and unsafe. A recent survey conducted by Placer County Environmental Utilities revealed that 67 percent of residents have experienced garbage-wildlife interactions near their homes and most interactions were associated with garbage cans placed outside of bear sheds.

Bear sheds, properly used, help by keeping trash out of sight and out of the wildlife diet. A typical bear shed costs approximately $1,200.  

To promote the installation of bear sheds, Placer County is developing a loan program for homeowners who need assistance with purchase costs. The Board of Supervisors conceptually approved the proposed loan program during a meeting in Kings Beach today and will be asked to give final approval to the program within a few months.

The program would be available to homeowners who live in unincorporated areas of Placer County east of Colfax served by Tahoe Truckee Disposal Inc. Under the proposed program, eligible homeowners could apply for five-year, interest-free loans that would be repaid through $22 monthly surcharges on garbage bills.  

“The proposed loan program shows the importance we place on bear-resistant garbage sheds,” said Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery, the 5th District representative on the Board of Supervisors. “By preventing bears from scavenging through trash cans, the sheds help keep our communities beautiful and safe and help bears stay wild and free. I am excited about the loan program because it will offer homeowners a simple way to fit purchase costs into their budgets.”

Normally, wild animals fear people and don’t bother them, as long as humans keep their distance and don’t feed them. The picture gets complicated when wildlife has easy access to human food sources, including trash. Once animals get a taste of human food, they typically hunger for more and their normal cautious behavior fades, which may result in property damage and threaten human safety.  

Unfortunately, a fed bear can become a dead bear, since bears that cause property damage or threaten human safety often must be destroyed, as state wildlife regulations prohibit the relocation of problem wildlife.

It’s important to remember that individual actions of responsible residents or visitors can make a difference in keeping wildlife wild and alive:

At Home

  • Install a bear shed if one is not in place;
  • Close and lock bear sheds at all times;
  • If you do not have a shed, place trash at the curb only on collection day morning; and            
  • Clean barbecue grills after each use.

While Out & About

  • Utilize public trash receptacles and dumpsters while visiting local parks and facilities and be sure to secure receptacle or dumpster lids;
  • Do not leave trash, groceries or pet food in your car;
  • When in wilderness areas, pack trash out to discard properly at home; and
  • Never feed wildlife.

For assistance with human-wildlife conflicts in Placer County, call the Placer County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office at 530.889.7372 or, in the Town of Truckee, please call 530.582.7830.

For general assistance regarding garbage service, please contact Tahoe Truckee Sierra Disposal at 530.583.7800.

Facts about Local Bears:

Black bears are the only species of bear in California. They range in color from blond to black; brown is the most common color. Black bears can run up to 35 miles per hour, climb trees and swim. As winter approaches, bears will forage for food up to 20 hours per day, storing as much fat as possible to hibernate during the winter months. Bears hibernate less if food, such as garbage, is available. Males are much larger than females and can weigh up to 500 pounds. A typical natural diet for a wild bear consists of berries, plants, nuts, roots, honey, honeycomb, insects, insect larvae, and small mammals.