Release by the Greater Yellowstone Coalition
(JACKSON, Wyo.) – Millions of visitors who camp and picnic in National Forests in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem can sleep a bit more soundly this summer, knowing that Forest Service campgrounds are being bear proofed – updated with bear-safe bear boxes that keep bears wild and people safe.
In an effort to keep bears and other wildlife from eating groceries and garbage, the Greater Yellowstone Coalition and the U.S. Forest Service have been working to install regionally manufactured steel bins in Forest Service campgrounds. This summer marks the 5th and final year of this over $1 million-dollar project which has focused on installing new bear-proof food storage containers, dumpsters, gates, and informational kiosks in priority sites at 164 Forest Service campgrounds. By the end of the season, 1,194 new bear boxes will have been purchased, helping to protect people and bears in the five National Forests that make up the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
“When wildlife learn that campgrounds are a source of food, the result is deadly for bears and a serious safety concern for people,” said GYC Wildlife Program Coordinator Chris Colligan. “From chipmunks to grizzly bears, everyone is better off when wildlife focus on their natural food sources. These campground upgrades make camping easier, while informing visitors who may not know the importance of proper food storage.”
Keeping grizzly bears alive is more critical than ever since delisting last year, and the sad fact is that too many bears are dying every year from preventable run-ins with campers, hunters, and cows. And that is why GYC is committed to continuing our work to keep bears wild.