Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Flathead National Forest tightens food storage rules

by Daily Inter Lake
| July 19, 2021 6:30 PM

Officials announced Monday they have tightened food storage restrictions in all parts of the Flathead National Forest, except the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex, to reduce the risk of attracting bears.

Bears can become conditioned to seek out food belonging to campers and other recreationists, leading to more conflicts between people and bears and putting both in danger, the U.S. Forest Service warned.

The new restrictions require all human food, garbage, pet food, livestock feed and other attractants to be stored in one of the following ways:

  • Secured in a hard-sided recreational vehicle, vehicle trunk, trailer cab or dwelling.
  • Suspended at least 10 feet up and 4 feet out from an upright support, such as a tree.
  • Stored in an approved bear-resistant container.
  • Stored within an approved and operating electric fence.

More information about the new restrictions can be found on the Flathead National Forest's website.

The tightened restrictions come after a grizzly bear dragged a California woman from her tent and killed her July 6 in the small western Montana town of Ovando; she and two fellow campers reportedly had stored food in their tents, which they removed after an earlier visit from the bear.

In April, another grizzly killed an experienced backcountry guide just outside Yellowstone National Park, likely in an effort to defend a moose carcass.