The fall of 2015 highlighted a dilemma that had been plaguing Three Rivers for many years. Bears in unsecured trash cans were leaving a trail of garbage throughout the community and, more importantly, the access to these easy pickings were habituating bears to human food, a dangerous prospect for the bears and humans. Bear-proof trash receptacle
During that fall season, which was tail end of the fifth year of drought in California, bears were unable to find enough food in their high country habitat to satisfy their hyperphagic instincts. As a result, bears converged on Three Rivers in great numbers. They came for the acorns, but discovered something else much more calorie dense: a smorgasbord of garbage that was free for the taking up and down the highway and byways. Bear-proof trash receptacle
Since that extraordinary time, compassionate Three Rivers residents have been securing their trash cans to do their part in ensuring bears do not get a taste of human food, which more often than not, will lead to their demise, whether from a gunshot, a vehicle, or euthanized by Sequoia park biologists when they return to their mountain home but can’t break their human food addiction. Bear-proof trash receptacle
An early supporter of the lock-your-trash-can movement in Three Rivers was the Three Rivers Historical Museum. And it’s important they set a good example since they are the hub of tourism in Three Rivers.
Currently, there are a couple of firsts happening on the museum site. One is that soon the new public restrooms will be available for use. That’s right, folks, these will be the one and only restrooms that will be open to every single person who needs a bathroom break between Lake Kaweah and Sequoia National Park. And the installation of a commercial bear-proof trash receptacle will be the first ever in Three Rivers.
A couple weeks ago, the call went out to Three Rivers businesses and residents requesting donations to cover the cost of a new bear-proof trash container, along with the tax, shipping costs, infrastructure, and installation. Several generous donations were received and, then, one in particular pushed the project over the top much more quickly than projected. Bear-proof trash receptacle
Kit and Craig Gibbs, who reside part-time in Three Rivers, provided a grant through their Schwab Charitable fund for the entire amount necessary for one trash receptacle, from purchase to delivery to installation. Yep, it’s Christmas in May, folks!
The receptacle, which is brown and similar to the trash facilities in Sequoia National Park, has been ordered. Delivery is expected within the next few weeks. The restroom contractor will install the concrete pad and secure the structure to it.
While the cost for the initial trash can was generously covered by the Gibbses, another bear-proof receptacle is on the museum’s wishlist, so the other donations (about 20 percent of what is needed) will still be used toward their original intent.
Why two cans? In normal times, the Three Rivers Historical Museum receives a thousand visitors a month. Last year during this period (January-April 2019), the slow time of year, 3,000 visitors had already passed through the museum doors. It is likely that even more people will pass through the restroom doors than the museum doors, and these travelers will also take a moment to rid their vehicles of trash that tends to accumulate during travel.
And when that occurs, Three Rivers residents and visitors can rest easy knowing that a bear will never, ever be able to obtain this discards. Amen. Bear-proof trash receptacle