Virginia City: The model Bear Smart Community

Editor’s note:

This story is part of the Lee Enterprises series “Grizzlies and Us.” The project examines the many issues surrounding the uneasy coexistence of grizzly bears and humans in the Lower 48, which have come  into focus in recent years as the federallyprotected animal pushes farther into human-occupied areas. The 10-part series, comprised of more than 20 stories, was produced by outdoor reporters and photojournalists across the Rocky Mountain West.

 

Stroll the historic ghost town boardwalk, and you might see chuckwagon dinners, vigilantes and gunfights.

You won’t likely see a bear getting into the garbage.

Because Virginia City isn’t just a national historical landmark, the site of the richest placer gold strike in the Rockies and the first territorial capital of Montana in the mid-1800s. The small bustling tourist town is also trying to become Montana’s first Bear Smart Community.

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The historic gold mine town of Virginia City sits below a heavily used wildlife corridor. With assistance from non-profit People and Carnivores, the town has taken steps to become “bear smart.”

Courtesy People and Carnivores

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