Food storage order extended as bears prep for hibernation

(Jackson, Wyo.) - The Bridger-Teton National Forest announced today that they extended the food storage order from December 1 through January 15, 2016. According to a recent news release by the Forest Service, the order has been extended to promote a safer environment for humans and bears. Visitors in the Blackrock, Jackson and Pinedale Ranger Districts will see a wider regulatory boundary where the proper storing, processing, transporting, and camping with food or attractants, will be enforced. "For the past few years it has been become more of the normal procedure to expand the order due to hunting activity and the low accumulation of snow at this time of year," said Angelica Cacho, public affairs specialist for the Bridger-Teton National Forest. "With the gut piles left behind by hunters, bears are more likely to seek this easily available food resource as they are preparing to hibernate." The Forest Service stated that extending the food order plays a key role in helping to alleviate possible negative interactions between humans and bears. It helps keep Forest visitor safe by mitigating encounters where a bear might be attracted to campgrounds, trailheads, picnic sites, and other areas frequented by people. "We want to avoid bad food storage practices by informing visitors of safe ways to protect their food and other attractants, with their safety and the bear’s in mind," Cacho added. The food storage order requires that human food (including canned food, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages), harvested game animals and parts, pet food, processed livestock feed and grains and personal hygiene items such as soap, toothpaste and deodorants must be stored in a manner unavailable to bears. This also includes garbage and empty food and beverage containers. Proper storage methods include placing food and other items in bear resistant containers or hard-sided vehicles or suspending them at least 10 feet above the ground and 4 feet from any vertical support. A copy of the temporary Food Storage Order with map of the area affected is available here . *Feature Photo: h/t Tupungato via Shutterstock / Pitchengine Communities* #buckrail #news