So, how much liability risk does the Town of Mammoth face with bear management, the group Bear With Us and consultant Steve Searles? After all, they're dealing with wild animals, people and property.
For Mammoth citizens fearful of this risk, we asked Town Manager Rob Clark to explain. Clark said that Bear With Us does have a liability insurance policy and lists the Town of Mammoth as an additional insured.
Manager Clark said that the Town is covered by the California Joint Powers Insurance Authority. This covers claims filed by individuals in relation to any activity the Town is involved in.
Clark explained that it is the liability risk that has made officials hesitant to authorize Steve Searles to use a firearm, unless he's with a police officer. The Manager also said that the Town can not authorize Searles or Bear With Us to do anything that violates the law such as entering private property. This is problematic when it comes to chasing bears.
Managaer Clark said that even a police officer can't go onto private property to follow a bear unless it's an emergency situation. He said this makes Searles' wish to monitor bears a problem. Clark said all of this is not a "black and white matter." He said that opinions on whether Searles can use hazing techniques vary.
You guessed it – more meetings on this lie ahead.