‘We’re supporting it’: Alberton to pursue Bear Smart program

Jamie Jonkel of Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks presents to Alberton Town Council about bear conflict near the town.

ALBERTON — An initiative to reduce conflict between humans and bears around Alberton has gained momentum with the addition of half the Town Council onto the newly formed Alberton Bear Smart Working Group

After a 20-minute presentation from the group at the Council’s regular monthly meeting March 7, Council members Sharon Briggs and Kyle Cirincione volunteered to join the group. The working group already included Alberton local Monica Best, Alberton landowner Bob Summerfield, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Bear Management Specialist Jamie Jonkel, FWP volunteer Laura Collins and Alberton School teacher Nick Ehlers. 

The goal is to use a grassroots model led locally that’s been proven to reduce bear conflicts in across the U.S. and Canadian Rockies. The general premise is that securing the things that attract bears can gradually reduce their inclination to forage through human development, thus reducing conflicts between people and hungry bears.

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But first, the group wanted the Council’s support and involvement. Summerfield said having a council member in the group would allow the

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