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Bear-Proof Storage Containers Installed at Campsites

PHOTO: Several popular campsites in the Bridger-Teton have some new hardware  bear-proof storage containers. Photo courtesy USDA.gov
PHOTO: Several popular campsites in the Bridger-Teton have some new hardware bear-proof storage containers. Photo courtesy USDA.gov
November 20, 2013

JACKSON, Wyo. - Several popular Bridger-Teton National Forest campgrounds have some new hardware: bear-proof storage containers, part of ongoing "bear aware" work to prevent conflicts between bears and people.

Grizzly and black bears depend on the Bridger-Teton wildlands, said John Spahr, a spokesman for the Sierra Club Wyoming Chapter. When stressed, he said, the bears seek out easy food. Spahr said the animals are stressed because of climate change and other factors that affect their food sources.

Spahr described how the food lockers work.

"The front actually comes down," he said. "Put the food in and close it back up, and then, not really lock it - but there's a mechanism on top the bears can't open up. It's very hard for them to try to rip that apart."

The lockers are not actually in the campsites, he said; they're at trailheads. Storing food away from campsites is a basic bear safety strategy. The Sierra Club and the Forest Service paid for the containers and installation.

With big game season under way, it's important for hunters to keep bear safety in mind, Spahr said, adding that it goes beyond practices in dealing with animal carcasses.

"They might have food in their car," he said. "Bears can break into cars. Bears can break into campers. So, it's just a good way to keep their food away from their campsite and keep them safe."

Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - WY