Web exclusive: Good news for campers this summer
| April 7, 2009 12:00 AM
Bear Spray must be clearly labeled "for deterring attacks by bears" according to the Interagency Grizzly
Summer vacations and camping trips in 'grizzly country' will be simpler and more convenient this summer.
"The Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee has identified a couple of bear resistant coolers that will eliminate the need to suspend food out of bears' reach," said Chris Smith, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks deputy director.
Smith said the newly approved products make it much easier for outfitters and recreationists to comply with food storage orders in grizzly country.
"Outfitters and campers are really going to appreciate these new cooler designs," Smith said. "The coolers will also work on the Smith River where the adoption of food storage orders was hampered by the impracticality of hanging coolers."
These rugged ice-boxes have airtight seals, special fittings, and stainless steel latches or padlocks. The IGBC publishes an online list of products approved for use where food storage orders are in effect and other approved products such as electric fencing at: http://www.igbconline.org/
Prior to the certification of these new coolers, food had to be hung at least 10 feet in the air and four feet from the pole or tree.
Smith said USFS food storage restrictions are for the public’s safety and to foster grizzly bear recovery by preventing bears from becoming food-conditioned—that is conditioned to find an easy meal from garbage cans, coolers and the like.
Food storage orders in effect on U.S. Forest Service lands include the Flathead, Lolo, Lewis and Clark, and Helena National Forests. Signs explain the orders and offer tips on how to behave in bear country.
For details on USFS food storage orders, contact your local Ranger District Office, or check the Website for the forest you plan to visit. For example, the Flathead National Forest has its food order posted online at www.fs.fed.us/r1/flathead/wildlife/grizzly_bears_index.shtml .
The 2009 Living With Predators resource guide produced by the Living with Wildlife Foundation in cooperation with Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks also describes the IGBC certified products at www.lwwf.org .
For a complete guide to living in bear country, go to the FWP Web site at fwp.mt.gov and click on Wild Things and Living With Wildlife to find the FWP Be Bear Aware page.