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Bridger-Teton National Forest, Sierra Club Work Together to Promote Bear Safety

Jackson, WY–(ENEWSPF)–November 12, 2013.  The Sierra Club and the Bridger-Teton National Forest have joined forces to help prevent conflicts between people and bears.  As part of ongoing ‘bear aware’ work, the partnership has placed bear-proof food storage containers at campsites on the Forest at Bailey Creek, Pacific Creek, Toppings Lake Road, Lost Lake Road, Shadow Mountain and Horsetail Creek.

“These bear-proof food storage boxes make it easy to protect both people and bears by keeping food and other attractants out of reach of bears,” said Forest Supervisor Clint Kyhl. “People and bears can safely co-exist, but we need to be responsible when enjoying the outdoors.”

As climate change and other factors impact traditional food sources like whitebark pine, bears move to lower areas in search of food. This can bring them into close proximity to people and create opportunities for conflict.  Conflicts with humans are by far the main cause of bear deaths — conflicts that could be avoided with proper planning and behavior.

“Grizzly and black bears depend on the vast wildlands of the Bridger-Teton National Forest and our other public lands,” said Sierra Club representative John Spahr. “They depend on the same wild places that are so important to many of us here in Wyoming.  Learning to avoid encounters with bears is an important part of enjoying our great outdoors safely and preserving our wild heritage for generations to come.”

Keeping attractants like food and toiletries out of reach of bears is just one of many steps people can take to ensure their time outside is both enjoyable and safe. It’s also important to always carry and know how to effectively use bear spray when recreating in bear country.

Big game carcasses must also be kept unavailable, as they are particularly attractive sources of food for bears.  Whole carcasses or parts of big game animals that are properly stored (e.g., in a closed horse trailer or hung 10 feet off the ground) should be at least 100 yards from a sleeping area or recreation site.   Animal carcasses within 200 yards of National Forest System Trail must also be properly stored.  Game meat left unattended on the ground must be at least one-half mile away from any sleeping area or recreation site and at least 200 yards from a National Forest System Trail.

The Bridger-Teton National Forest and the surrounding Greater Yellowstone area is one of only a handful of places in the lower-48 states where grizzly bears can survive. Since the 1970’s when Yellowstone grizzly numbers were at their lowest, the population has rebounded thanks to federal protection under the Endangered Species Act.  Today grizzlies face additional challenges, as the traditional food sources they have depended upon have declined.

Source: sierraclub.org


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