Bear-proof trash receptacle on its way to Three Rivers Historical Museum

Bear-proof trash receptacle
COMING SOON: Bear-proof trash can with the Three Rivers Historical Museum logo.

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

Bear-proof trash receptacle
This is what happens around Three Rivers when a bear finds a trash can that is not secured.

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.

Bear-proof trash receptacle
Bears, which are incredibly intelligent, have even found a workaround for trash dumpsters that are intended to be bear-proof.

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.

The chant goes like this: A fed bear is a dead bear.

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

2 thoughts on “Bear-proof trash receptacle on its way to Three Rivers Historical Museum

  • May 1, 2020 at 9:56 am

    Greetings from Florida!
    I love getting 3Rivers news every week in my email now that i’m across the country. How generous of the Gibbs family to underwrite this very needed “amenity.”
    This article brought up a question (well, actually, two), though. First, “The restroom contractor will install the concrete pad and install the structure to it.” Which structure, the trash bin (I assume) or the restroom building? And, if the bin is fixed to the pad, how does it get emptied?
    Just my curiosity speaking,; nothing more. I’m sure there’s a way but I confess I’ve never seen one being emptied —- just dumpsters. which probably wouldn’t be able to be lifted by the usual trash truck. if the bin is bolted to a concrete pad.

  • May 2, 2020 at 7:18 am

    Thank you Kit and Craig Gibbs!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.