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Author Topic: Forest Service reminds visitors of food storage restrictions  (Read 1842 times)

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Arthur

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For Immediate Release                                                         
Contact: Kimberly Morgan
859-745-3100         

Forest Service reminds visitors of food storage restrictions to prevent black bear encounters

WINCHESTER, Ky., June 2, 2011 – The U.S. Forest Service is reminding visitors that food storage restrictions are required in some areas to help prevent conflict with black bears.   

In the Red River Gorge and on the Stearns Ranger District of the Daniel Boone National Forest, visitors must store food inside a hardtop vehicle or bear-resistant container when not cooking or eating.

“Just this past weekend, we had a few campers who experienced a close encounter with a black bear,” said Forest Supervisor Frank Beum. “In each case, the individuals were in violation of food storage restrictions by having food inside their tent.

“The intent of the food storage restrictions is to promote visitor safety and prevent bears from associating food with people, which will help prevent negative encounters with black bears,” said Beum.

Backcountry campers must suspend food and garbage at least 10 feet off the ground and four feet out from any tree or pole.   

Burning or burying food, trash or any other bear attractant is also prohibited. A bear attractant is defined as any substance having an odor that may attract bears, which includes cooking grease, toothpaste and soap.

The Forest Service has installed bear-resistant trash receptacles at most developed campgrounds and picnic areas in the Red River Gorge and the Stearns Ranger District. These containers must be used for garbage disposal where they occur on the national forest.

To become “bear aware” and learn how to avoid human-bear conflicts, forest visitors should follow these bear safety tips:

        Never feed a bear. Once bears learn to associate food with humans, they can become aggressive for another easy meal. In Kentucky, feeding bears is illegal.
        When camping or picnicking, follow food storage restriction policies where they apply. In remote locations, suspend food and garbage off the ground and away way from the supporting tree or pole.   
        Never store food or other potential bear attractants inside your tent. Cook food and eat in locations away from your sleeping area. Store food and garbage up to 100 yards away from your campsite.     
        Never approach a bear. If you accidently come upon a bear, back away slowly. Do not run; this could prompt a chase.
        If a bear approaches you, makes lots of noise. Remain standing upright. Never lay down to play dead or turn your back on an approaching black bear. 

Aggressive bear encounters on national forest lands should be reported to the nearest Forest Service office or to the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. In an emergency, call 911.   

For more information about black bears and food storage restrictions, visit the Daniel Boone National Forest website at www.fs.fed.us/r8/boone or the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources website at http://fw.ky.gov/navigation.aspx?cid=807&navpath=C117C810.
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