July 19, 2020

​It is a gift to share our natural environment with many species of wildlife including the black bear.


The black bear is the only species of bear that inhabits the Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park area. Black bears generally avoid contact with humans, so they are rarely seen.

YMCA of the Rockies takes the responsibility of being good stewards of black bears very seriously and we are proud to partner with both Rocky Mountain National Park and Colorado Parks and Wildlife to ensure that we take every measure to keep bears wild. We have thorough communication to our staff and guests about bear responsibility, and also have diligently worked to ensure our property has adequate equipment and procedures that keep bear protection a high priority.

Securing of the Facility, Trash and Procedures
Our facilities and operation teams implement the following measures to restrict bear access and keep trash and food secure:

  • All outdoor trash cans and dumpsters throughout property are bear-resistant
  • All food and dining waste is disposed of in a bear-resistant trash compactor
  • Doors of facilities, offices and staff housing have signage displayed to remain closed for bear safety
  • Trash is picked up frequently from outdoor trash cans and occupied cabins
  • Remain in frequent communication with our local Colorado Parks and Wildlife officer regarding any bear sightings or encounters on our property
  • YMCA of the Rockies Security Manager is a member of the Estes Valley Bear Aware Committee that includes other organizations such as Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park Police Department and Colorado Parks and Wildlife

Guest Education
A major part of our summer guest communication is education on bear awareness and responsibility. Guests of YMCA of the Rockies receive information both before they arrive and after about how their choices while in our environment can affect the life of a bear. Communication and education touchpoints include:

  • Pre-arrival information about bear awareness
  • Upon check-in, our front desk agents remind guests in-person they are in bear country and provide an informational flyer that outlines best practices regarding bears during their stay
  • Increased “bear activity” signage around property during the height of bear season
  • Fridge magnets in all cabin accommodations that remind guests about bear awareness
  • Restrict use of bird feeders (seed and hummingbird) at guest cabins and removal if found at accommodations
  • Bear education programs that provide a fun informational session about the lives of black bears, but reiterates how serious it is to act responsibly by securing your trash and food

If you are interested in learning more about the bear population in Estes Park, please reach out to Chase Rylands at [email protected]. Chase is the local wildlife officer assigned to the greater Estes Valley and is park of Colorado Parks and Wildlife Area 2 region.

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