Campers spending the night on the five-mile stretch of the Appalachian Trail from Jarrard Gap to Neels Gap in the Chattahoochee National Forest must bring a solid, non-pliable bear-resistant canister for personal garbage, toiletries and food.
Bear-resistant canisters trap odors, lessening the lure of food, and are designed to be tamper-resistant against extreme force. They can be purchased where camping gear is sold.
The new regulation was issued by the USDA Forest Service due to public safety concerns and repeated conflicts between bears and people in the region. This requirement is seasonal and is applicable through June first.
"We're taking this measure to protect campers and make our campsites less alluring to the bears that live here," Blue Ridge District Ranger Andy Baker said. Conflicts between people and bears in this area have resulted in temporary camping closures in the past. Traditional food storage methods in the wilderness, such as "bear-bagging," or hanging food bags between trees, will not be allowed. These methods are not always effective at preventing bears from retrieving food.
"Any bear that associates people with food is a dangerous bear because it's going to be aggressive," Baker said. "By removing the lure of foods and other odors, we stop giving bears a reason to approach a campsite."
Tags: Tourism, Appalachian Trail, Hiking, Hiking Gear, and Camping Gear
Published Aug 16, 2014.
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