LARAMIE — Entering the summer season, visitors to developed recreation sites on the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests are reminded that they must comply with a forest order that requires proper storage of food and refuse which might attract bears.
The order was signed on June 15, 2020, and is necessary to minimize adverse interactions between bears and humans. U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and Wyoming Game and Fish coordinated to put the order in place. Bear-human encounters are becoming an all-too-frequent issue that impacts the safety of forest visitors and wildlife. This order aims to resolve this issue before it becomes an even larger problem.
“Proper food storage is such an important thing for our Forest visitors to be aware of,” said Shawn Graef, Law Enforcement Patrol Captain with the Forest Service. “There are no winners when unwanted human/bear encounters take place. This order helps cut down on those undesirable encounters and is important for keeping our public safe.
“The message to properly store attractants is equally important for our developed sites and dispersed recreation locations throughout the forests. Our officers will be making contacts with as many visitors as possible to help share this important message.”
Bear attractants can include, but are not limited to food and beverages, garbage, BBQ grills and stoves, cooking utensils, pet food and dishes, game meat and carcasses, fish and bait, toiletries, and bug spray.
According to the Forest Order, unless food or refuse is being prepared for eating, being eaten, being transported, or being prepared for acceptable storage, it must be stored in bear-resistant containers or inside vehicles in sealed containers while in a developed sites such as campgrounds, trailheads, visitors centers, picnic areas, and day-use sites.
While the order only applies to developed sites, the same safety message applies to dispersed sites throughout the forests. The Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests are bear country and the recreating public should properly store anything that could attract bears.
Any harvested animal carcass must be acceptably stored, and if hung, be at least 100 yards from a developed recreation site.
Be “Bear aware” and “Bear wise” when camping and recreating. Visit Colorado Parks and Wildlife and Wyoming Game & Fish webpages for more information. More information can also be found on our website or social media channels: @FS_MBRTB on Twitter or @FSMBRTB on Facebook.