Living in the mountains subjects you to a lot of wildlife. A lot of it. And when people feed the wildlife, they get not quite so wild. They become bad neighbors. You know the kind... they take your stuff, break it and don't apologize or offer to replace it.
When we bought the lodge twelve years ago, we were told there were 34 bears in the national park. Now we have been told the number is in the low 20's. Most of the deaths are due to food issues. The bears want it, and will take it from people. The park service has tried to relocate the problem bears, but they just cause problems where they end up, or just find their way "home". So the bears must be killed.
A real campaign has been going on to keep the bears out of people food and garbage to keep them "alive".
The rangers in Rocky Mountain National Park approached us last year, and asked us if we would rent "bear canisters" for the back-packers to store their food in when camping in the back country. It seems that the local bears are onto the "tie the bag up into a tree" way of storing food, and will climb-chew-eat in no time at all. The bear canisters are a lot more difficult for the critters to break into. We bought several canisters and have started renting them out to help save the bears from themselves.
Several months ago I got a call.
Caller- The rangers say you rent bear canisters at your lodge.
Me- Yes, we do. We charge $5 per night for them.
Caller- How big are your canisters?
Me- They're the three gallon models.
Caller- THREE GALLONS!
Me- Yes, we only carry one size, and thought the larger canisters would be better to stock.
Caller- THREE GALLONS! There are only two of us! And we're only going to be in for a couple days!
Me- Three gallons should be enough then. You might need another if you were out much longer.
Caller- THREE GALLONS! HOW BIG ARE YOUR BEARS OUT THERE?!?
Me- Wait, are you thinking you need Pepper Spray?
What I'm talking about.....
What he's talking about............