Bear activity prompts Forest Service to implement Food Storage Order in Roaring Fork Valley, Eagle Valley campsites | PostIndependent.com

Bear activity prompts Forest Service to implement Food Storage Order in Roaring Fork Valley, Eagle Valley campsites

GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Due to recent increased bear activity, a food storage order has been implemented for all developed recreation sites on the Aspen-Sopris Ranger District in the upper Roaring Fork Valley, including the campsites along Lincoln Creek and Castle Creek. Nineteen sites on the Eagle-Holy Cross Ranger District in Eagle County are also included.

This order has been implemented to provide for public safety, wildlife conservation, and reduce wildlife habituation problems in response to bear activity.

Multiple bear encounters occurred in the Lincoln Creek area the night of Friday, May 24. A large bear approached campers at one or more campsites and was undeterred by human presence, shouting, car horns, and other noise and commotion. One camper reported that the bear tried to open a car door with people and a dog inside.

Previous campers who improperly stored food and garbage probably played a major role in these incidents, according to wildlife officials. When bears associate food and garbage with humans and their belongings, they will become habituated to the human environment.

The order prohibits certain activities that tend to attract bears to public use areas. Visitors to the specified camping sites must store their food, cooking equipment, cooking utensils, and coolers in a bear resistant container such as a closed, locked vehicle or food locker. Any odorous substance can attract bears, including garbage and refuse, cooking oil, dirty dishes, and toiletries. It is important to prevent bears from associating any such odors with people.

Violations of the food storage restriction order are punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000 for an individual, $10,000 for an organization or imprisonment for not more than six (6) months, or both.

Additional information about camping on the White River National Forest may be found on the Forest Service website at http://www.fs.usda.gov/whiteriver/.


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