After a lengthy public process, the Board of County Commissioners recently adopted a Wildlife Protection Ordinance for the Estes Valley Planning Area that requires wildlife-friendly trash management practices.  The ordinance complements the town of Estes Park's existing Wildlife Protection Ordinance, paving the way for a more wildlife-friendly environment in the Estes Valley.  Larimer County began enforcing the new ordinance September 1, 2017.  Residents are encouraged to help protect wildlife by complying with the ordinances.  

The ordinances set specific standards for storage of refuse located outside an enclosed structure (such as residential or commercial buildings, sheds or garages).  Refuse is defined as any waste that could reasonably attract wildlife including, but not limited to, kitchen organic waste, food, food packaging, toothpaste, deodorant, cosmetics, spices, seasonings, oil and grease.  Requirements for refuse containment do not apply to glass, paper, cardboard, metal plastic, aluminum, textiles, electronics, non-edible yard maintenance waste, construction materials and household items when not co-mingled with food waste attractants.  

Residential refuse should be stored in a typical hard-sided trash container with secured lid and placed outside on pickup day only between 6 am and 7 pm.  Trash service bags must be inside a hard-sided container.  Residents who leave refuse outside before 6 am or after 7 pm on pickup day must use a wildlife-resistant container or enclosure. 

Businesses (including vacation rental homes and special events) must store refuse in a wildlife-resistant container or wildlife-resistant enclosure at all times.  Wildlife-resistant dumpsters are readily available locally, and in many cases there is no cost to upgrade.  Oil and grease must be stored in a wildlife-resistant container.  Non-wildlife-resistant trash containers 95 gallons or less are allowed if emptied by 10 pm daily or contracted for pickup service overnight.


No.  The Wildlife Protection Ordinance only applies to properties within the Estes Valley Planning Area.  It does not apply to the remainder of unincorporated Larimer County.

Code Compliance staff will initiate a Code Compliance file after three complaints are received on a property.   Once a case is initiated, a Code Compliance staff member will make contact with the property owner(s) to determine the status of a potential violation.  Steps will then be taken to ensure that a wildlife resistant container is on site.   Further action will be taken as necessary on a case by case basis.   

“Under Colorado law, intentionally feeding big game animals is illegal. The prohibition applies to deer, elk, pronghorn, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, mountain lions, and bears. Violators face a $100 fine.” - Colorado Parks and Wildlife

For wildlife complaints not related to the Larimer County Wildlife Protection Ordinance:

  • Estes Valley Planning Area: 
    • Contact Colorado Parks and Wildlife Officer Chase Ryland Phone: 970-652-0591.
  • Larimer County Unincorporated outside of the Estes Valley Planning Area:
    • Colorado Parks and Wildlife Regional Office – Fort Collins – Phone: 970-472-4300.

Contact Code Compliance

200 W. Oak Street, Suite 3100
Fort Collins, CO 80521
(970) 498-7683 
Hours: 8am - 4:30pm, Monday - Friday
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