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Bears Create Problems in Fayston


by Kathryn Rush

Game warden Chad  Barrett discusses the bear problem with Fayston Elementary School reporter  Kathryn Rush.  Photo by Carla Occaso.
Game warden Chad Barrett discusses the bear problem with Fayston Elementary School reporter Kathryn Rush.
Photo by Carla Occaso.

recently interviewed state game warden Chad Barrett, Fayston Elementary School custodian Ted Withey, and Fayston Elementary principal Jean Berthiaume about the bear problem in Fayston this summer. The bear has been getting into the school’s trash and compost. The staff at the school has discontinued use of the compost temporarily, so that the bear doesn’t get into it. There have been bears all over the Mad River Valley. Barrett said he has been getting calls from all the areas that he patrols, which include Fayston, Warren, Waitsfield, Waterbury and Granville.

Withey says he has never seen the bear, but he has seen the results of its visits. For example, the bear has knocked over the school’s dumpsters and scattered trash all over the parking lot. He also said that the bear, or bears, left claw marks on the dumpsters. All summer, we didn’t put food trash in the garbage, and we didn’t put other garbage out until Friday, when it would be picked up. The bear also found the compost, got into that, knocked it over, and ate some of it.

The reason for the bear vandalism, according to Barrett, is that this past winter lasted so long that the bears’ natural food didn’t have time to ripen. What they did instead was get into trash and compost, because it was so easy to get into––and they just kept getting into it. The bear population is up, too, compared to the last 10 years, because the winter lasted so long that the bears had more cubs. Also, the area around Fayston has some of the best bear habitat in New England.

What can you do to stop bears from coming around? Spray ammonia on the areas you want to keep them away from––they have such a strong sense of smell that they will not want to go there anymore. You can also get bear-proof lids for your dumpsters. However, big, heavy bears can jump on these lids and demolish them and then get in. In that case you can put plywood under the lids.

Kathryn Rush is a sixth-grader at Fayston Elementary. Another sixth-grader, Lindley Friedman, contributed to this article.