Con Games: Bear Minimums in Aspen

05/10/2010 01:25 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Michael Conniff Inventing the future of storytelling at The Isaacson School for New Media in Aspen

The march of the bears is upon us again and this time the bears are not to blame.

They're hungry: we all know that, and yet repeat offenders are put to death. In response, Aspen City Council deemed in March 2009 that wildlife-resistant trash cans would be not only the norm but the requirement. But here's the problem: the requirement by the City of Aspen has been all but ignored by all but a few of the citizenry.

The result? The bears will be back in Aspen going after the trash and either the City or the citizens are to blame.

Here's another problem: bear-resistant trash cans can cost $350, a small fortune for a garbage receptacle. And local stores boasting bear-resistant trash cans are selling receptacles that even a good-sized human could tear to pieces.

The garbage-producing populace of Aspen no doubt embraces the idea of a law that ultimately protects bears in search of sustenance. But not even a Council happy to dictate personal habits has bothered to put teeth into enforcement laws. The law goes into effect June 1, 2010.

The net net is that trash containment in the name of bear preservation is an absolute, total bust. If you live in Aspen and the bears come down from the hills this summer, then you will have yourself to blame.