Wintergreen is a Bear Smart Community
The primary rules are simple and clear:
No bird feeding from April 1 to December 1, never leave food or garbage outdoors, and lock all vehicle doors
Nuisance behavior of the bears at Wintergreen became a serious issue over the Summer of 2007–Spring of 2008. The bears' "trained behavior" of visiting open dumpsters and bird feeders, and finding food in garbage left in non-bear proof containers led to the sad and unfortunate removal and euthanization of several black bears.
In an effort to prevent training of bears in these types of bad behavior, the Wintergreen Property Owners Association (with the support and advice of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries) began working to enforce the rules that have proven to keep the bears wild and less of a threat to property and people. The community effort was and continues to be successful in greatly reducing bear issues.
Bird feeding with seed feeders, suet feeders, or nectar feeders from April 1st to December 1st is considered to be intentionally feeding bears, which makes it a violation of WPOA policy as well as Virginia Law (4VAC 15-40-282). Feeding birds during the prohibited period can result in a citation by Virginia game wardens.
Also to protect the bears from harm and to protect Wintergreen property, no outside garbage is permitted unless it is stored in a "bear proof" container.
Tip: Bears have an amazing sense of smell and Wintergreen's bears can (and do) open car doors. Keep all of your car doors locked because you will forget about those cookies left in the cup holder.