Food storage order issued by Kootenai National Forest

If you’re planning an overnight stay in the Scotchmans anytime soon, take a moment to make sure you’re update with the latest food storage information. Backpackers and campers in the Kootenai National Forest are now required to store their food in a bear-resistant manner when unattended.

Outdoor enthusiasts have a few options for following these new requirements. The first is to store their food in a bear resistant container. These containers must be approved by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee. Please check out their website to see which containers are acceptable:

The second option campers have is to store their food in a bear resistant manner. This means that the food must be either:

  • Hung 10 feet off the ground and 4 feet horizontally from a tree or other structure,
  • Stored in a closed vehicle (hard-sided camper, vehicle truck, cab or trailer cab),
  • Stored within a hard-sided residence or building,
  • Or, stored within an electric fence certified through the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee.

The food storage order also discusses the appropriate storage and location of wildlife carcasses. During the day carcasses may be within an attended camp. However at night, the carcasses must be stored in a bear resistant manner unless they are at least a 1/2 mile away from the camp site and more than 200 yards from a National Forest System Trail.

Bear resistant containers
Bear resistant containers

Campers should also be aware of the restrictions surrounding burnable attractants, items such as leftover food, bacon grease, food saturated containers, etc. Attractants should not be “buried, discarded or burned in an open campfire, unless placed in a suitable container (i.e. tin can or fire pan) to prevent leaching into the ground, and burned over an open campfire.” Attractants can also be stored in a sealed container and packed out with garbage.

For more information please check out the Kootenai National Forest webpage. The quick link on the right, Food Storage & Sanitation, will provide more details.

Please be safe when camping in National Forests. Remember to respect all wildlife.

(Information and images provided by the Kootenai National Forest)

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