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Drop off your pumpkins Monday in Durango

Pumpkins can be discarded Monday at the over-flow lot at Santa Rita Park.

If there’s a post-Halloween jack-o’-lantern still leering on your front porch, bears and other wildlife are more than happy to steal it.

Rather than leave those squashy orange gourds rotting on the front stoop, Bear Smart Durango has partnered with the city, Colorado State University Extension and Healthy Community Food Systems to host an all-day pumpkin drop-off on Monday.

From 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., locals can bring their pumpkins to the overflow parking lot of Santa Rita Park at 149 South Camino del Rio. The recycled gourds will feed local livestock.

Bryan Peterson, executive director of Bear Smart Durango, said pumpkins are as enticing to wildlife as trash and fruit trees. It’s been an active year for bears, and he encourages people to store pumpkins indoors until donating on Monday.

“It’s definitely a human food source attractant,” Peterson said. “It’s one more thing that brings bears right up to people’s homes. We did education on this, this fall. If you have a pumpkin, don’t be surprised if you have a bear on your porch. We recommend people bring their pumpkins inside at night, but of course people don’t.”

At this time of year, many female bears have already bunkered down for the winter, Peterson said, but it’s not as unusual for males to postpone hibernation through November and even early December.

“They tend to stay out longer if they’re finding food sources,” Peterson said.

The pumpkin drop-off is a first-time event for Bear Smart Durango, which found a last-minute beneficiary for the pumpkins at a ranch in the Florida River valley. The pumpkins will feed pigs and chickens.

The drop-off is a one-day event. Donated pumpkins must be free of candles, wax, paint and bleach.


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