Scott Wedel

Scott Wedel 3 days, 7 hours ago on Steamboat City Council approves 1st reading of stricter trash rules to prevent wildlife conflicts

It is simply wrong to think that garbage cans is the only source of human food for bears. This ordinance will not solve our bear problem because it solves only part of the problem.

We should not expect this solve the problem because of the experience of Durango which also just has a garbage can ordinance and still has to trap and relocate well over 100 bears a year. We can see what else is needed by looking at the experience of Yosemite National Park which has a comprehensive plan including a bear aversion program and rarely has to relocate a bear. Yosemite's experience also includes a period in which they only focused on food control and that was not very successful as bears simply learned to be more aggressive at going after other food locations such as cars, trailers, etc.


Scott Wedel 3 days, 11 hours ago on Steamboat City Council gets an earful about recent cuts to winter bus service

I don't think the city council can directly be blamed for this. They were told on Dec 7th that transit dept had printed scheduled and only hired enough drivers to be able to do this schedule.

Jonathon Flint bus manager reports to Deb H. What do you expect him to say? Transit dept might have told complaining riders that there isn't anything transit dept can do and they need to take their issues to city council public comment.

About the only thing City Council could say on Dec 7 was to Hinsvark that this is being done with no opportunity for council, public or rider input and she will get 100% credit or bear 100% responsibility for how this works out. She didn't tell the council in Oct that it looked like they weren't going to be able to hire enough drivers and were adjusting routes to deal with it. So she decided to not allow for public input and instead chose to hand the council a fait accompli on Dec 7th.


Scott Wedel 3 days, 18 hours ago on Steamboat City Council gets an earful about recent cuts to winter bus service

"There are a lot of reasons we are having trouble attracting seasonal transit drivers right now, marijuana being one of them, so it's an issue and we're going to have to figure out how to work through it best we can," Hinsvark said.

Did she really say that stupid of a statement? It makes no sense. What commercial vehicle drivers are allowed to use drugs?

Maybe she should talk to SB bus drivers and those with commercial licenses that don't want to drive SB transit buses. I'm told there are crummy shifts, not that easy of a job and can find better paying commercial driving jobs. That it is pretty rough being a seasonal bus driver being asked to share the most difficult work of snow, ice and lots of riders. That city's end of season bonus is a miserable way of compensating drivers because most people would rather have the money now when their expenses are higher, have to stick around even when hours have been reduced and something could happen like back problems and so they don't get bonus for making end of season.

Also, commercial shuttle driving is an easier job that pays better if tips are allowed. And instead of paying the sort of fair wage that would attract local workers, the city brings in bus drivers and prefers to deal with the issues of migrant workers.


Scott Wedel 3 days, 22 hours ago on Yampa Valley Housing Authority explores means to address rental housing shortage in Routt County

This is a perfect example of what is so wrong with YVHA.

There is a strong local demand for apartments

They can get tax credits to subsidize the building of affordable apartments.

With those two elements then it should be easy to proceed with building apartments.

And then comes the kicker, any such project has to bail out YVHA from their land purchase where current debt is about twice current land value.

Making the developer absorb YVHA's loss will probably prevent any such apts from being built. Bailing out YVHA removes the benefits of the tax breaks .

I note that if YVHA operated like a competent organization then they would have handed the parcel back to the bank. Sure it would damage their credit, but they are already in no position to get financing. Their RFP is for a developer to deal with financing..

The sad part is that if YVHA were to tell potential developers that there are potential tax credits available for building affordable apartments then there probably would be projects started.

So it is directly YVHA's fault that there are not affordable apts being built.


Scott Wedel 4 days, 3 hours ago on Tougher trash ordinance from city would require more Steamboat residents to buy wildlife-proof containers

As for creating a known working solution such as at Yosemite.

I note that Durango with bear proof garbage, but no bear aversion program, is relocating a bear, on average, every 3 days. Relocating a bear is not free. It requires several skilled people, transportation and so on. And it is clearly not very effective with 75% of the relocated bears having previously been relocated.

I suggest that a bear aversion program is likely to be less expensive than a bear relocation program. The great advantage of a bear aversion program is that it teaches bears to go back to the wilderness to forage for food. Thus, it works as a longer term solution. It appears that now Yosemite is doing a bear aversion patrol about often Durange relocates a bear.


Scott Wedel 4 days, 7 hours ago on Tougher trash ordinance from city would require more Steamboat residents to buy wildlife-proof containers

National Park Yosemite cares more about the bears that the human visitors to the park. They also have bear behaviorists and pretty much whatever they need to deal with the issue.

If you take the time to read the materials on Yosemite's site then you'll see that bear aversion including shooting them with bean bags or rubber bullets is best for the bears. That is what is needed to teach the bears to not forage for human food, but to stay in the wilderness and forage for natural food.

That relocating bears is not a very effective program. First, it is more stressful on the bears that being shot with a nonlethal weapon. Bears are big powerful animals with the fat and muscle to safely absorb a nonlethal shot. Being tranquilized and waking up in other bear's territory is a much bigger event. Second, relocated bears tend to return. 75% of the bears captured at Durango have been captured before. That is 80 bears as of October.

As Yosemite's site says about their program: Bears rarely are relocated because they return quickly to the place of capture and resume food-conditioned behavior.

See how Durango's program is not working that well because every few days they are having to relocate a bear while Yosemite is rarely having to attempt to relocate a bear?

Is it some SB affliction where the ideas we come up with in our heads are considered new brilliant ideas and we cannot look around at what is happening elsewhere to see what works?


Scott Wedel 4 days, 11 hours ago on Tougher trash ordinance from city would require more Steamboat residents to buy wildlife-proof containers

I am not saying that a step to reduce easy access to food isn't a good idea. But if the only step is to deny food then many bears remain in the area looking for harder to get food. And they will find it in cars, trailers, garages, houses and so on. And Yosemite doesn't go around Dirty Harry style killing bears, but does drive them off from living around people and seeking human food.

Durango is a great success? 106 bear captures in 2014 by October a year with plentiful natural food counts as a success? That is comparable to the total number of times that any bear got any food from people in all of Yosemite! And they have a severe drought and a terrible year for natural food.

Going after garbage cans without also implementing a bear aversion program is like trying to stop a rash of thefts by asking people to lock their doors, but making no effort to investigate or arrest the thieves,


Scott Wedel 5 days ago on Tougher trash ordinance from city would require more Steamboat residents to buy wildlife-proof containers

Typical government that puts a requirement onto the general public that is going to have only modest improvements. Why it is

As Scott Ford can testify, a bear resistant garbage can doesn't stop a bear looking for food finding it elsewhere such as inside a trailer.

Blocking one avenue to food isn't going to get the bears living in city limits to move one. It will just cause them to get better at the other places people keep food. Thus, only dealing with garbage cans could actually be more dangerous as it could just teach our city bears to break into cars and houses.

If the objective is sharply reducing bear incidents then the city also needs to pursue bear aversion tactics such as having trained officers shoot them with nonlethal weapons.

I can only hope that a program based upon science and is proven to work is not viewed as completely irrelevant to SB's bear problems.