Valley View Hot Springs has been visited by a bear. This year there has been quite a bit of bear activity along the Sangre de Cristo range. Shortages of the wild food supply for bears has made it hard for them to find enough food to pack on hibernation reserves. Bears that repeatedly visit human campgrounds, towns, and dwellings are euthanized, which none of us want. We have not had a bear sighting for several years. However, in early August, a bear repeatedly visited the trash dumpster on the edge of the campground. There was a significant amount of food scraps that were put in the bear proof trash containers instead of placed in the buckets provided at all cooking areas. Some people were throwing partially eaten meals into the trash containers instead of scraping the food scraps into one of the buckets. The trash containers are bear proof but the smell still attracts hungry animals. The bear proof trash cans are emptied into the dumpster which concentrates the food smells which attracts bears. A dumpster with significant food waste is a strong temptation for bears and they will expand their search for food to nearby areas. In our case, that means our campground.
The food scraps that considerate guests diligently separate from other trash is collected in buckets and the contents are fed to the chickens. This quickly processes the food waste into chicken manure and there is little food smell remaining to attract wild animals. There are buckets for food scraps in all of the kitchens (Oak House, Sunset, Spruce House) as well as in the Pavilion and at the outdoor sinks at Main Bath. We will soon also have buckets in all five cabins. Or, you can pack your food scraps out as is recommended at National Park campgrounds. Please do not put food scraps or food waste in the trash cans. Rinse off paper plates, plastic bags, or containers that were used for food before putting those items in the trash cans. For your safety and for a bear-free trip, help us keep a clean camp. Store your food in the food storage cabin near the Pavilion or in your car. Separate any food waste and put it in the buckets provided instead of in the trash. With your help, we can return to a bear free campground and the bears can live peacefully in the wild.