Bear-Proof Your Site
The population of black bears has been on the rise in recent years, as well as grizzly bears in Montana and Wyoming—which is good news for conservation efforts, but not so great for parks and campgrounds that have to deal with the mess bears leave behind after digging through waste receptacles. Whether you're currently experiencing bear trouble or not, it's wise to get ahead of critters of all shapes and sizes by providing waste receptacles that are resistant.
Q: We've been seeing more bears in our parks and campground. What can we do to keep bears out of the garbage?
A: Look for bear-proof (officially called "bear-resistant") trash receptacles, certified by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee. The IGBC was formed in 1983 to help ensure the recovery of grizzly bear populations and their habitat. One way it does this is by providing guidance for food storage and garbage management in areas where grizzly bears live.
Products that have earned the IGBC certification have been specifically designed—and tested—to keep bears out. Commercial-grade bear-resistant receptacles will be fabricated using heavy-gauge steel with welded (not riveted) assembly. Self-closing top hatches are important so campers don't accidently leave the lid open. The hatch latch must be covered to keep bear paws out, but allow human hands to reach in and easily trigger the release lever.
Q: What else should we consider?
A: Choosing bear-resistant trash and recycling containers that are certified by the IGBC will not only help prevent problems from the biggest bears, but should also help prevent problems from other wildlife that tends to find the trash humans leave behind appealing. Keeping animals out of human garbage is also good for the animals.
If you have a campground, be sure to also provide IGBC-certified bear-resistant food storage lockers, so campers have a safe place to store their food.
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R.J. Thomas Mfg. Company