If you run a campsite in an area where there are wild bears, keeping your customers save needs to be a top priority. When left alone, bears are a pretty minimal threat, but you don’t want to accidentally attract them to your site. Bear proof your site with these simple tips, to keep everybody safe.
You can deter bears either by eliminating reasons for a bear to want to come onto the campsite, or by using methods that encourage a bear to leave or avoid a campsite. The first method is simpler to achieve, but both work effectively. Concentrate on smell that may interest a bear. The American Bear Association says that a black bear has a sense of smell seven times more powerful than a dog; they can detect an odor from over a mile away.
- Keep food downwind of where people will be sleeping. Food stores and cooking areas smell great to a bear, so keep them downwind of any sleeping areas to avoid attracting bears to where people will be at night. Don’t set up camping areas near to natural food sources, like patches of berries.
- Lay out key areas in a triangle that keeps areas that smell away from sleeping areas. Sleeping cabins and areas to pitch tents go at one point of the triangle, food storage goes on another point, and the cooking and dining area goes on the final point. Leave around 100 yards between each point.
- Be smart with how you dispose of campsite trash. Make sure any food waste or food packaging is disposed of in airtight plastic bags, or if you can do so safely, burn it. Any rubbish that cannot be burned needs to be put in a bear proof disposal unit, like the Bearsaver – Mini Depot Recycling Enclosure, ADA compliant
- Keep a very clean and tidy camp and make sure visitors understand why this is important. Store everything that isn’t in use, from food to spare clothing, in airtight bags or containers, to prevent odours. No food at all should ever be kept anywhere near where people sleep. Keep away anything that smells edible, including snacks, food wrappers, toothpaste or even food you wore while cooking. Burn or bury any food leftovers well away from the camp.
- Wash up cooking utensils immediately. Wash up right away before food smells can carry on the wind. Tip away dishwater well away from the campsite, and downwind from the tents.
- Put up a bear proof fence. A fence can deter a hungry bear from exploring your campsite. Buy a proper bear proof fence, that delivers a mild electric shock to the bear if it tries to cross. Put it up around the perimeter of your campsite.
- Try a bear hang to store food. Some experts suggest a ‘bear hang’ as the most effective way to deter bears from getting into your food. Put food into a secure, waterproof and odour free bag, and hang it out of reach from a bear in a tree. Hang the food store ten or twelve feet above the ground, and four to six feet away from the tree trunk.