This past week Coastal Community Association helped county staff give away 88 hasps for trash cans at Salinas Park

This past week Coastal Community Association helped county staff give away 88 hasps for trash cans at Salinas Park. Volunteers from the South Gulf Volunteer Fire Department and county staff spent the afternoon installing locks on citizens’ cans. The residents brought them in and signed some simple paperwork for documentation. The hasps were obtained by Gulf County through a Bear Management Program, Community Bear Wise Grant from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The hasps are free to residents.

The hasps are designed to keep the bears from being able to get into our human garbage, which is harmful to them. The abundance of “free and easy” food brings them into our neighborhoods, as opposed to them living off Nature, staying in the woods, and having to work for their dinner.

Then we humans have to clean up their mess and have interactions that need to be avoided. Foraging in the wild for the same amount of time it takes them to go through your garbage gets them about 500 calories worth of food. Your garbage can result in 5,000 calories. So, guess where Mr. Bear has learned to find his dinner? Installing the bear hasps makes them move on.

Right now, the bear hasps are being given out free in the South Gulf County/Indian Pass area through the grant funding but could be expanded to all of Gulf County with the success we are having. If you missed getting your hasps and live in the designated areas, you can contact Lianna Sagins at the County EDC office and get your bear hasps for your trash cans. Her contact information is 229 6144 or

The success of this program depends on everyone in a neighborhood locking out Mr. and Mrs. Bear from the trash cans. So if you live in one of the areas, please join the effort and outfit your cans. It is much easier than cleaning up your and your neighbor’s yard each morning. The only thing a resident has to do is to unlock the cans the morning of trash pickup so that WastePro can pick up and dump the cans. The rest of the county is depending on the success of this pilot program so that they can use these hasps also.

Home management companies, HOA’s, and other multi-unit managers can also contact Sagins for the specifics on receiving the hasps. In general terms, you must have a designated employee responsible for getting the cans to the road and unlocked. Or, it may be stipulated in your rental contract. This is just one of several programs that FWC offers to help communities live wisely with wildlife.

Let’s send Mr. and Mrs. Bear back to the woods by removing their free and easy food and give them and us the space we need to get along. Thanks to Gulf County and FWC for making this program available.