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      FS Issues Bear Container Requirements     
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adam
Moderator
 
07/24/2020 09:45AM
Official Order

The requirement is either use a real bear resistant container such as Bearvault or food must be properly hung.

"ELY, Minn. — Officials in the Superior National Forest are implementing a food storage order to a handful of BWCA lakes to lessen the likelihood of negative encounters between visitors and bears.

While the order doesn't refer to specific incidents, an accompanying release from the Superior National Forest says issuing it is "necessary to reduce human and bear conflicts due to improperly stored food. Implementation of this food storage order will serve to increase protection for wild bears and visitors on particular lakes of the Gunflint District of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness management area."

The order impacts campers and visitors to the following lakes:

Alpine Lake
Jasper Lake
Seagull Lake
Red Rock Lake
Rog Lake

The signed order says visitors on the specified lakes are not allowed to possess or leave any food or garbage unless it is being eaten, prepared or transported, or properly stored.

"Properly stored" means:

Food stored in a bear-resistant container
OR
Suspended at least 12 feet clear of the ground at all points, six feet horizontally from any tree limb or pole and four feet vertically from any limb or pole

A bear-resistant container is a lockable container made of "solid, non-pliable material capable of withstanding 200 foot-pounds of energy. When secured and under stress the container can not have any cracks, openings or hinges that would allow a bear to gain entry by biting or pulling with its claws."

Superior National Forest officials say those violating the order could be subject to 6 months in jail or a $5,000 fine. "

Link to Kare 11 article



 
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adam
Moderator
 
07/24/2020 09:56AM

Black bear and a BearVault

 
GreyWolfMN
member (15)member
 
07/24/2020 10:20AM
It looks like the Kare 11 article seems to say that there are two options. One is a bear resistant container and the other is a prescribed hanging system. The above posting is missing the 2 bullets.

-Food stored in a bear-resistant container
(or)
-Suspended at least 12 feet clear of the ground at all points, six feet horizontally from any tree limb or pole and four feet vertically from any limb or pole
 
airmorse
distinguished member(2644)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/24/2020 10:28AM
Good thing Yogi does not have opposable thumbs as he was trying his darndest to unscrew that top.

Smarter than the average bear!!!
 
tomo
senior member (70)senior membersenior member
 
07/24/2020 10:30AM
They should put bear proof storage at those campsites. Bear proof storage
 
Navigator
distinguished member (147)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/24/2020 10:31AM
I'm sorry, but this is dumb. Properly lofting food in trees solves ALL bear-related issues. Those with issues - and create bad bear habits - are those who:

1) eat on portages
2) take food, snacks or any food item into tents
3) don't properly bear trap their food packs into trees

I don't need the FS regulating what I bring food into the BW within. Sit down Big Brother.
 
airmorse
distinguished member(2644)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/24/2020 10:40AM
I think they are trying everything they can to avoid killing the bears.

But yes i agree if people would practice proper bear awareness this would not be an issue.
 
ockycamper
distinguished member(505)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/24/2020 10:44AM
I have also read the order and it does not seem to give an option for just hanging in trees. It must be a hard sided lockable container like a bear vault
 
briar
member (7)member
 
07/24/2020 10:46AM
Where can you find the official order? I check the forest service website and could not fnd it.
 
mschi772
distinguished member (431)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/24/2020 10:50AM
Navigator: "I'm sorry, but this is dumb. Properly lofting food in trees solves ALL bear-related issues. Those with issues - and create bad bear habits - are those who:


1) eat on portages
2) take food, snacks or any food item into tents
3) don't properly bear trap their food packs into trees


I don't need the FS regulating what I bring food into the BW within. Sit down Big Brother.
"


Chill-out. They way most of us are reading this, if you are properly hanging (12 feet clear of the ground at all points, six feet horizontally from any tree limb or pole and four feet vertically from any limb), then you can hang your food in a pillow case for all they care.
 
mschi772
distinguished member (431)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/24/2020 10:52AM
ockycamper: "I have also read the order and it does not seem to give an option for just hanging in trees. It must be a hard sided lockable container like a bear vault"

Did you read the order or did you read the article? They're not the same thing, and I have not been able to find the actual order anywhere yet.
 
sedges
distinguished member(599)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/24/2020 11:09AM
Even "properly lofting" does not always work. This bear got to a bird feeder way more than 6 feet out. One of the Alpine Lake incidents had the bear chewing or clawing to break the rope at one side and the food swung down to the other tree for easy access. Hard to make proper lofting work with a smart bear.

They actually closed a campground and banned camping on a section of the Appalachian Trail in Georgia to avoid killing bears. That is what should happen here. It would be way easier to enforce a closure than to visit campsites with a tape measure. bear with bird feeder
 
Grandma L
distinguished member(5369)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
07/24/2020 11:09AM
tomo: "They should put bear proof storage at those campsites. Bear proof storage "

naah - we can do this - We have been hanging and protecting our food for many years - and hundreds of trips - just a few persistent bears and maybe many sloppy campers making this a difficult situation.
 
adam
Moderator
 
07/24/2020 11:13AM
The only FS note I have seen now is this which has no details without the actual signed order and the rules and fines surrounding it. It would be nice if the FS published these in a timely manner to the public.

FS note on order
 
TechnoScout
distinguished member (251)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/24/2020 11:18AM
tomo: "They should put bear proof storage at those campsites. Bear proof storage "

That really would be a great idea.
 
ockycamper
distinguished member(505)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/24/2020 11:19AM
No one is answering the phone there. I left a message and hope to hear back soon
 
07/24/2020 11:21AM
Found it

FS Order
 
07/24/2020 11:27AM
When you're on the Superior National Forest website, click on the Alerts & Notices link in the left navigation column. On the far right side of the Alerts & Notices page, there is a link to Forest Supervisor Closure Orders. There's a lot more than closures on the subsequent page.

Superior Nation Forest - Home
 
07/24/2020 11:34AM
pcallies: "Found it

FS Order "


Thanks for finding the order. It is clear that there are two options for food storage in the area: real bear cannisters or hanging.

I sent an email to SNF politely suggesting that this order and others should be published on the Alerts page rather than on the Closures page. I received a reply that the suggestion will be forwarded, but I doubt that any change will happen soon based on the the rest of the reply.
 
andym
distinguished member(4777)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
07/24/2020 11:39AM
Interesting that they didn’t just go with one of the standard lists of bear resistant containers. By going their own way, it seems the primary thing they ruled out are Ursacks.
 
airmorse
distinguished member(2644)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/24/2020 11:43AM
So i read the order as that hanging of food is still permissible provided you follow the distance from ground and tree requirements.
 
briar
member (7)member
 
07/24/2020 11:51AM
here is the direct link link
 
heelix
senior member (79)senior membersenior member
 
07/24/2020 12:01PM
Hmmn. I'd consider my ursack to be bear proof... but it would not match the 'hard sided' requirement.
 
4keys
distinguished member(738)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/24/2020 12:01PM
Hanging is fine and dandy -- we did it until last year, and this year we still had to hang part of the dog food-- IF there are trees to hang from. Last Friday we stopped at a site on Jasper for lunch, and there were no trees that would allow for proper hanging. This Tuesday we spent the night at an Alpine site, again no appropriate hanging trees. So really, while they are giving you the option, hanging correctly in some of that area is not a reality.

Just a note that we used a blue barrel and had no problems on Alpine, but we did find a trash pile with 3 small seal line bags ripped open. (Yes we cleaned it up).
 
adam
Moderator
 
07/24/2020 12:42PM
The way the official order reads is the blue barrels and ursack bags need to be hung on these lakes.
 
Jaywalker
distinguished member(2254)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/24/2020 12:43PM
andym: "Interesting that they didn’t just go with one of the standard lists of bear resistant containers. By going their own way, it seems the primary thing they ruled out are Ursacks. "
Yeah, it seems like a list would have been helpful since most of us are not sure which products have been tested by the FS with their impact or penetrator machines. I’m really surprised Ursacks are not listed as ok since they are IGBC certified. Guess vital vaults, plastic buckets with gamma lids, and just stashing are out too.
 
acanoer
member (34)member
 
07/24/2020 01:38PM
sedges:

They actually closed a campground and banned camping on a section of the Appalachian Trail in Georgia to avoid killing bears. That is what should happen here. It would be way easier to enforce a closure than to visit campsites with a tape measure. bear with bird feeder "


Does not make sense to stop people from using a area to avoid killing problem bears.

Black bears are no way endangered or close to becoming so for the most part the population is growing faster then they are hunted and killed.

It makes far more sense to allow the taking killing of then few problem bears then to stop people from using an area.

 
Savage Voyageur
distinguished member(13241)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
 
07/24/2020 01:39PM
I can see it now when I’m in the prison exercise yard and my cell mate asks me why I’m in the slammer. I just lean over and tell him for using a gamma seal bucket and not hanging my beef jerky and Mountain House.
 
airmorse
distinguished member(2644)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/24/2020 02:29PM
Unless this is going to be actively enforced by the USFS some people will ignore this as the attitude of some are "rules are for other people". I hope I'm wrong.
 
mschi772
distinguished member (431)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/24/2020 02:34PM
airmorse: "Unless this is going to be actively enforced by the USFS some people will ignore this as the attitude of some are "rules are for other people". I hope I'm wrong."

We've seen this year that they can't provide sufficient enforcement of existing rules, so new rules are going to be no different.
 
Cedarboy
distinguished member(3407)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/24/2020 02:37PM
Those are lakes that were hit hard by fires.
Now the underbrush is taking over and the blue berries are bountiful.
That end of the Gunflint saw its permit useage drop to almost half after the blowdown then the fire. My guess is 90% of folks wont be affected either because theydont use thise entry points or if theu do they jusu paddle through.
CB
 
Cedarboy
distinguished member(3407)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/24/2020 02:41PM
Sorry for the spelling.
 
schweady
distinguished member(6944)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
07/24/2020 03:26PM
Given the bear piñatas that the majority of groups seem to think qualifies as "properly hung," I've quickly moved to supporting an order requiring hard-sided bear canisters and eliminating the evening hanging exercise.
 
HangLoose
distinguished member(779)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/24/2020 03:46PM
andym: "Interesting that they didn’t just go with one of the standard lists of bear resistant containers. By going their own way, it seems the primary thing they ruled out are Ursacks. "

I agree they need to re-define Bearproof container to include Ursacks. Ursacks are without a doubt Bearproof. Unfortunately their "unpliable" wording is unnecessarily limiting.
 
Minnesotian
distinguished member(1821)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/24/2020 04:42PM
DuluthPak: "andym: "Interesting that they didn’t just go with one of the standard lists of bear resistant containers. By going their own way, it seems the primary thing they ruled out are Ursacks. "


I agree they need to re-define Bearproof container to include Ursacks. Ursacks are without a doubt Bearproof. Unfortunately their "unpliable" wording is unnecessarily limiting. "


I suspect they are relying on the Yosemite list of allowed canisters. Yosemite has some of the most notorious and smart bears in the country for finding bear canister weaknesses. Yosemite also doesn't allow Ursacks which has been a big problem for people backpacking the Pacific Crest Trail. For years backpackers have been lobbying Ursacks to be officially approved. Yosemite Allowed containers
 
airmorse
distinguished member(2644)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/24/2020 05:11PM
mschi772: "airmorse: "Unless this is going to be actively enforced by the USFS some people will ignore this as the attitude of some are "rules are for other people". I hope I'm wrong."


We've seen this year that they can't provide sufficient enforcement of existing rules, so new rules are going to be no different."


Agreed.
 
mschi772
distinguished member (431)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/24/2020 05:24PM
I emailed the USFS specifically about Ursacks as that was a common question I was hearing. Pictured here is their reply.






I have sent a follow-up as well that reads:
"Thank-you for the quick response. Since you offered, I would like a more detailed explanation of what methods and evidence-based rationale the USFS uses to evaluate containers in order to qualify or disqualify them as bear-resistant and what data the USFS uses to evaluate the efficacy of its testing/qualification methods."

I have not received another response yet.

As far as I've been able to find, the USFS uses a simple device designed by Missoula Technical Development Center (MTDC) back in 1989 to test the penetrability of hard containers pictured here. This is quite the narrow-minded approach that the USFS sounds like it has stuck with for 30 years while the IGBC has continued to expand and refine its approach. Not only does this method ignore numerous physical and ethological ("ethological" is not a typo) questions, but it is utterly incapable of any meaningful evaluation of a container that is not rigid.
 
mjmkjun
distinguished member(2652)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/24/2020 06:35PM
tomo: "They should put bear proof storage at those campsites. Bear proof storage "
After extended usage they get nasty-dirty. the ones at super busy parks like Yosemite, for instance. Slobs United. They are everywhere!
 
07/24/2020 10:20PM
I’m not familiar with Ursacks. Could a bear just grip one and walk away or pull so hard whatever it was tied to would break?
 
adam
Moderator
 
07/24/2020 10:49PM
Zulu: "I’m not familiar with Ursacks. Could a bear just grip one and walk away or pull so hard whatever it was tied to would break?"

My main concern would be the bear crushes things you don't want crushed.
 
LindenTree
distinguished member(2499)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/24/2020 10:53PM
mjmkjun: "tomo: "They should put bear proof storage at those campsites. Bear proof storage "
After extended usage they get nasty-dirty. the ones at super busy parks like Yosemite, for instance. Slobs United. They are everywhere!
"


Correct, we had to take our bear lockers down in Alaska on the Kenai NWR because people were using them as a trash disposal dumpster.
 
Jaywalker
distinguished member(2254)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/24/2020 10:55PM
Zulu: "I’m not familiar with Ursacks. Could a bear just grip one and walk away or pull so hard whatever it was tied to would break?"
Basically yes. The Ursack is best used tied to a strong tree with a surgeons knot. If tied to a weak tree or branch, or just on the ground, a bear could walk off with it.Even if it did walk off with one, if properly knotted it would not be able to open it - but it could crush whatever is in there. An ursack without a proper knot on top is like a bear vault with the lid off.

I mainly use mine to store dog food. I would not use it to store a bladder of wine from a box.
 
mike2019
member (22)member
 
07/25/2020 05:09AM
I have the aluminum liner for my Ursak. liner liner
 
HangLoose
distinguished member(779)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/25/2020 08:14AM
adam: "My main concern would be the bear crushes things you don't want crushed. "

That's true. A bear could definitely crush the food in a Ursack if given enough time. I bring mostly freeze dried food and things that prepare the same even if they are crushed.

We just had a bear visit our BWCAW campsite last month. We heard the bear before it had a chance to do any damage. We scared the bear away and it never came back. If our food wasn't in the Ursack and tied to the tree then I'm sure the bear would have run off with it. But the bear never had the opportunity.

With the Ursack tied to a solid tree, the idea is that the bear can't run off with your food and can't gain access to the food.

If you bring the Ursacks with you on day trips and never leave the Ursack unattended at camp then you will never give a bear an opportunity to even crush the food. You'll be able to scare the bear away before it ever even has a chance.

In my opinion this method is 100% effective
 
Nigal
distinguished member (155)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/25/2020 10:31AM
As many visitors that go through the bwca I’m not only surprised more bear problems don’t happen but that the whole area isn’t mandated bear vaults.
 
mooseplums
distinguished member(10155)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
 
07/25/2020 12:46PM
Cedarboy: "Those are lakes that were hit hard by fires.
Now the underbrush is taking over and the blue berries are bountiful.
That end of the Gunflint saw its permit useage drop to almost half after the blowdown then the fire. My guess is 90% of folks wont be affected either because theydont use thise entry points or if theu do they jusu paddle through.
CB"


From what I learned from Outfitters in the area this week, this has little to do with burn area, and blueberries, and a lot to do with messy campers.
If folks were more conscientious, and removed their trash this problem would be far less. There are more than normal reports of trash being left at sites, and just poor LNT ethics. A fed bear is a dead bear.
 
schweady
distinguished member(6944)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
07/25/2020 12:55PM
Nigal: "As many visitors that go through the bwca I’m not only surprised more bear problems don’t happen but that the whole area isn’t mandated bear vaults. "
+1
 
SouthernKevlar
member (7)member
 
07/25/2020 03:22PM
On my trip next week I'm not going to any of the listed areas, but I think I will properly hang my BearVault!
 
Lilescar
 
07/25/2020 04:24PM
This area was hit hard by the Cavity Lake Fire. Many of the sites on Alpine don’t have a lot of mature trees tall enough to get food properly hung.
 
mjmkjun
distinguished member(2652)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/25/2020 08:07PM
schweady: "Nigal: "As many visitors that go through the bwca I’m not only surprised more bear problems don’t happen but that the whole area isn’t mandated bear vaults. "
+1
"

+2
Would not be the least bit surprised if this is the future of BWCA camping requirements. I have a Bear Assault Keg which is bulky and heavy but I would transition from a Blue Barrel. Gladly.
 
mschi772
distinguished member (431)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/26/2020 07:37AM
mjmkjun: "schweady: "Nigal: "As many visitors that go through the bwca I’m not only surprised more bear problems don’t happen but that the whole area isn’t mandated bear vaults. "
+1
"

+2
Would not be the least bit surprised if this is the future of BWCA camping requirements. I have a Bear Assault Keg which is bulky and heavy but I would transition from a Blue Barrel. Gladly. "


I'd hope that it would encourage someone to make a larger bear-resistant container. Currently I need about 50-60 liters to supply my usual group for one of our usual week-long trips. That's 5-6 BV500's which would cost a total of something like $350-420, weigh more combined than a blue barrel, and packing everything into multiple small cylinders is more difficult than fitting everything into one large one. It is nice that Ursack finally has a larger bag (30 liters), but not everyone is down with that, and the NPS and USFS both seem to have something against them to where one can never rely on Ursacks being allowed in a given area.
 
Savage Voyageur
distinguished member(13241)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
 
07/26/2020 08:02AM
I understand why they issued this, I just question the timing. In January this would have been great advice. Kind of hard to expect people at the last minute to have the correct gear.
 
07/26/2020 08:20AM
I understand the reasoning, but seriously how is this enforceable? If I didn’t belong to this site, I would’ve never even heard of this rule change. I am assuming it would be posted at an entry point? So I guess at that point my only option would be to just go home? Hanging isn’t always a guaranteed option In the areas of the order and I can’t rely on that as my only option. They haven’t sent it out to permit holders for that areas yet, that might have been the best method.

Economically where do you get these barrels? There are 4 of us for a week, I’d need 4 bear vault 500’s assuming I am just using freeze dried food... which I am not so probably 5 of them? At 80 bucks a pop...not even sure I can find 5 on such short notice.

Ursak looks like a better option but does not appear on their approved list.

I don’t trust hanging one bit and as I said the area may not even supply the option.

I am just voicing frustration, was looking forward to getting away to a new areas, but not looking possible at the moment.

T
 
4keys
distinguished member(738)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/26/2020 08:51AM
Savage Voyageur: "I understand why they issued this, I just question the timing. In January this would have been great advice. Kind of hard to expect people at the last minute to have the correct gear. "

That's for sure. If this had been issued a few days earlier we would have been hard pressed to comply (we left on the 16th).
 
4keys
distinguished member(738)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/26/2020 08:57AM
Question on the part of the order about possessing and transporting through those lakes. If you just plan on passing through those lakes without camping on them, do you still need the hard side containers?
 
Savage Voyageur
distinguished member(13241)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
 
07/26/2020 10:15AM
4keys: "Question on the part of the order about possessing and transporting through those lakes. If you just plan on passing through those lakes without camping on them, do you still need the hard side containers?
"


If you are passing through this rule would not apply. Only if you were clearly camping in the affected areas. Kind of like the rule in Quetico about barbless hooks. Only hooks in the water you are using need to be barbless.
 
07/26/2020 03:24PM
Savage Voyageur: "4keys: "Question on the part of the order about possessing and transporting through those lakes. If you just plan on passing through those lakes without camping on them, do you still need the hard side containers?
"



If you are passing through this rule would not apply. Only if you were clearly camping in the affected areas. Kind of like the rule in Quetico about barbless hooks. Only hooks in the water you are using need to be barbless. "


From the wording I assume you cannot stop for lunch/snack or a break on any of those lakes though.

T
 
andym
distinguished member(4777)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
07/26/2020 03:46PM
I think the problem with volume of food is different meal expectations in canoe camping country and backpacking areas. We expect to eat better in the BW and so we have a bunch of Ursacks. Yes, it is expensive but I hate hanging a big food pack. I would also hate the weight of multiple canisters.

There are lots of national parks that allow Ursacks and they are also allowed along much of the Pacific Crest Trail. Let’s hope that the BW bears don’t get as habituated as the ones in Yosemite and we can get back to normal food storage in future years.
 
07/26/2020 04:56PM
Last night a bear tore up a motorcyclists saddle bags to get his food here in a SW Colorado campground. Food is required to be in a hardsided vehicle when unattended. It was a mess and the guy ended up leaving in the middle of the night while it rained.
He should have hung the food. Maybe a bear resistant saddlebag could be invented.
 
mschi772
distinguished member (431)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/26/2020 06:52PM
timatkn: "I understand the reasoning, but seriously how is this enforceable? If I didn’t belong to this site, I would’ve never even heard of this rule change. I am assuming it would be posted at an entry point? So I guess at that point my only option would be to just go home? Hanging isn’t always a guaranteed option In the areas of the order and I can’t rely on that as my only option. They haven’t sent it out to permit holders for that areas yet, that might have been the best method.

Economically where do you get these [containers]?...not even sure I can find 5 on such short notice...

...I am just voicing frustration, was looking forward to getting away to a new areas, but not looking possible at the moment."


Excellent points. I expect those who decided to issue this order do not have any answers for you and may easily have not even considered how this would be enforced. It is quite common in our legal culture to make rules without any intention or idea how to enforce them in the hopes that the rules will just take care of things themselves. The USFS has demonstrated that it isn't capable of sufficient enforcement of the rules it already has.

I'm not saying that a food container restriction is a bad idea. The bear thing is definitely a problem that needs to be addressed, but I'm sorely disappointed that they are foolish enough to think that they can keep neglecting enforcement if they want to actually solve problems. Until they figure-out how to enforce any rules better, this is just another rule that too many people will ignore and get away with ignoring.
 
johnMN
senior member (100)senior membersenior member
 
07/26/2020 09:58PM
So, does anyone know if the blue barrel past the 200 lb test?
 
mjmkjun
distinguished member(2652)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/27/2020 05:55AM
You make a valid point, mschi772.
 
MacCamper
distinguished member(502)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/27/2020 06:48AM




30 liter, stashed. The bear bring their own openers!
 
BPD
member (20)member
 
07/27/2020 10:35AM
So frustrating!! (For the bear!) :-)

When Cristi and I were living in Asheville they banned the blue Bear Vaults from some parts of the Smokies because there were a few clever bears that figured out how to open them. Crazy.

Brian
 
firemedic5586
distinguished member (180)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/28/2020 03:36PM
As I have 2 Ursack's, a trip scheduled into one of the affected areas with my "Mancub", along with my brother and his "Mancub" this is of interest to me..

I have found the Ursacks quick and easy to set. Where as trying to find a two of trees (Most of the time pines) that meet the criteria for a proper hang to be a real PIA, especially with the forest density that the BW has.
 
Jaywalker
distinguished member(2254)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/28/2020 03:56PM
MacCamper: "




30 liter, stashed. The bear bring their own openers!"


Just curious - when and where was this taken?
 
07/28/2020 07:54PM
johnMN: "So, does anyone know if the blue barrel past the 200 lb test?"

It is not listed on the approved barrel list, neither are Ursacks. The way it reads only certain barrels can be used or you need to hang exactly to specs. Otherwise you are subject up to a $5,000 fine. That is my understanding from reading the links people posted.

T
 
RoundRiver
distinguished member (363)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/29/2020 12:23AM
tomo: "They should put bear proof storage at those campsites. Bear proof storage "

No they should not. It is supposed to be a wilderness area. People need to listen to input, learn how to exist in the setting if they want to be there (its part of the experience), and use common sense. Let alone the outcry of raising fees to pay for it.
 
RoundRiver
distinguished member (363)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/29/2020 12:29AM
acanoer: "sedges:


They actually closed a campground and banned camping on a section of the Appalachian Trail in Georgia to avoid killing bears. That is what should happen here. It would be way easier to enforce a closure than to visit campsites with a tape measure. bear with bird feeder "



Does not make sense to stop people from using a area to avoid killing problem bears.


Black bears are no way endangered or close to becoming so for the most part the population is growing faster then they are hunted and killed.


It makes far more sense to allow the taking killing of then few problem bears then to stop people from using an area.


"


Convenient we say “problem bears”. The bears are not the problem, people are. In this case usually people who refuse to listen to simple guidelines - keep a clean camp, do not keep food or sweet smelling items out, do not bring food or sweet smelling items into or next to your tent, don’t leave fish remains in or adjacent to camp, don’t thrown food in the fire unless you assure it fully burns, etc. Common sense stuff. And when people do things their own way and not listen they then create potential problems or serious injury for those who visit the campsite after them. Thus again the problem the vast majority of the time are people, so killing bears in a wilderness area that is their home makes little sense because it does not solve or address the problem (again the vast majority of the time) - and allows the problem people to just carry on with no consequence.
 
07/29/2020 07:41AM
MacCamper: "




30 liter, stashed. The bear bring their own openers!"


Would like the whole story please. Were you there? Hear the story second hand? Just find the pic on the internet? Were the barrels used for food prep? Did people spill food on the barrels. Were they really stashed or did the bear carry it off to the woods? That would help a lot of people that use the camping barrels for further prevention of bear issues.
 
gkimball
distinguished member(615)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/29/2020 08:40AM
RoundRiver: "acanoer: "sedges:



They actually closed a campground and banned camping on a section of the Appalachian Trail in Georgia to avoid killing bears. That is what should happen here. It would be way easier to enforce a closure than to visit campsites with a tape measure. bear with bird feeder "




Does not make sense to stop people from using a area to avoid killing problem bears.



Black bears are no way endangered or close to becoming so for the most part the population is growing faster then they are hunted and killed.



It makes far more sense to allow the taking killing of then few problem bears then to stop people from using an area.



"



Convenient we say “problem bears”. The bears are not the problem, people are. In this case usually people who refuse to listen to simple guidelines - keep a clean camp, do not keep food or sweet smelling items out, do not bring food or sweet smelling items into or next to your tent, don’t leave fish remains in or adjacent to camp, don’t thrown food in the fire unless you assure it fully burns, etc. Common sense stuff. And when people do things their own way and not listen they then create potential problems or serious injury for those who visit the campsite after them. Thus again the problem the vast majority of the time are people, so killing bears in a wilderness area that is their home makes little sense because it does not solve or address the problem (again the vast majority of the time) - and allows the problem people to just carry on with no consequence."


+1 Well said. Thank you.
 
mc2mens
distinguished member(3332)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/29/2020 08:54AM
timatkn: "MacCamper: "






30 liter, stashed. The bear bring their own openers!"



Would like the whole story please. Were you there? Hear the story second hand? Just find the pic on the internet? Were the barrels used for food prep? Did people spill food on the barrels. Were they really stashed or did the bear carry it off to the woods? That would help a lot of people that use the camping barrels for further prevention of bear issues."


Not all blue barrels are the same. I know the blue barrel I use is made of thicker plastic than this one.
 
mike2019
member (22)member
 
07/29/2020 08:57AM
I don't get it.

1) The FS says a fed bear is a dead bear. But, these bears are clearly not dead. So, they must not be fed????

2) If the FS has to shoot 5-10 bears a year over a million acres, is that bad? Heck, we have a bear season in my state and hundreds +++ are shot. It's not like black bears are endangered.

3) Even though it may seem so from the above, I am NOT ANTI BEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The FS needs to Install bear cables at campsites where there are no trees bear cables

4) And what is the FS hate about Ursaks? A great alternative. I even have the aluminum liner. Andrew Surka https://andrewskurka.com/argument-against-hanging-bear-bag/

5) FS does not care to enforce regs it already has. July 2020 I was camped on Ogish, when the forest service paddled up: "Forest service, can we come in?" "Sure! Do you want to see me permit?" "No, we're here to check out the campsite and Latrine" They gave NO FEEDBACK, did NOT look at my permit, and just left. A missed opportunity to educate or enforce.

6) I don't look at BWCA as a wilderness at all. You have designated campsites. You have latrines, and fire grates. You have trees down to sit on at these firegrates. These are really high used sites, and that's fine. But wilderness...meh
 
mschi772
distinguished member (431)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/29/2020 09:06AM
mc2mens: "timatkn: "MacCamper: "







30 liter, stashed. The bear bring their own openers!"




Would like the whole story please. Were you there? Hear the story second hand? Just find the pic on the internet? Were the barrels used for food prep? Did people spill food on the barrels. Were they really stashed or did the bear carry it off to the woods? That would help a lot of people that use the camping barrels for further prevention of bear issues."



Not all blue barrels are the same. I know the blue barrel I use is made of thicker plastic than this one. "


Doesn't matter. None of them meet any official standards for bear-resistance.
 
mc2mens
distinguished member(3332)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/29/2020 12:38PM
mschi772: "mc2mens: "timatkn: "MacCamper: "








30 liter, stashed. The bear bring their own openers!"




Would like the whole story please. Were you there? Hear the story second hand? Just find the pic on the internet? Were the barrels used for food prep? Did people spill food on the barrels. Were they really stashed or did the bear carry it off to the woods? That would help a lot of people that use the camping barrels for further prevention of bear issues."




Not all blue barrels are the same. I know the blue barrel I use is made of thicker plastic than this one. "



Doesn't matter. None of them meet any official standards for bear-resistance.
"


I understand that. I have bear a resistant food container which I'll use if by myself or backpacking, but I like the blue barrel for canoe camping generally because it holds more food (and wine) than the little bear resistant containers and I'd rather not hang a food pack.
 
mschi772
distinguished member (431)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/29/2020 04:11PM
mc2mens: "I understand that. I have bear a resistant food container which I'll use if by myself or backpacking, but I like the blue barrel for canoe camping generally because it holds more food (and wine) than the little bear resistant containers and I'd rather not hang a food pack. "

I'm with you there as well. I eagerly await someone to create a relatively affordable, larger bear-resistant container. BV500's just aren't practical for some of my groups.
 
07/29/2020 06:03PM
gkimball: "RoundRiver: "acanoer: "sedges:



They actually closed a campground and banned camping on a section of the Appalachian Trail in Georgia to avoid killing bears. That is what should happen here. It would be way easier to enforce a closure than to visit campsites with a tape measure. bear with bird feeder "




Does not make sense to stop people from using a area to avoid killing problem bears.



Black bears are no way endangered or close to becoming so for the most part the population is growing faster then they are hunted and killed.



It makes far more sense to allow the taking killing of then few problem bears then to stop people from using an area.



"




Convenient we say “problem bears”. The bears are not the problem, people are. In this case usually people who refuse to listen to simple guidelines - keep a clean camp, do not keep food or sweet smelling items out, do not bring food or sweet smelling items into or next to your tent, don’t leave fish remains in or adjacent to camp, don’t thrown food in the fire unless you assure it fully burns, etc. Common sense stuff. And when people do things their own way and not listen they then create potential problems or serious injury for those who visit the campsite after them. Thus again the problem the vast majority of the time are people, so killing bears in a wilderness area that is their home makes little sense because it does not solve or address the problem (again the vast majority of the time) - and allows the problem people to just carry on with no consequence."



+1 Well said. Thank you."


I don’t disagree with your premise, but your a day late and a dollar short as the saying goes. Once a bear learns people/camps equate food, the situation is beyond control. Once an animal learns or finds a food source it will keep checking and get more brazen. It isn’t their fault...but for the people that come camping later...it isn’t their fault either. Their are already cases in this area where campers had a barrel, the bear came into camp while they were preparing food and got into the barrel. So the FS solution is not going to work. Closing the area down isn’t going to work, unless it is for a few years, and the logistics of the area being an entry point that won’t happen. As much it bothers me this bear or group of bears are done for. Also whenever their are situations like this the FS is going to direct bear hunters to these bears/area as well. So they will get removed now or later...but it will happen. Bug the forest service to enforce better to prevent it—I agree—but your “little sense” solution is likely the only one that will work going forward.

T
 
mschi772
distinguished member (431)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/30/2020 03:03PM
mschi772: "I emailed the USFS specifically about Ursacks as that was a common question I was hearing. Pictured here is their reply.






I have sent a follow-up as well that reads:
"Thank-you for the quick response. Since you offered, I would like a more detailed explanation of what methods and evidence-based rationale the USFS uses to evaluate containers in order to qualify or disqualify them as bear-resistant and what data the USFS uses to evaluate the efficacy of its testing/qualification methods."


I have not received another response yet.


As far as I've been able to find, the USFS uses a simple device designed by Missoula Technical Development Center (MTDC) back in 1989 to test the penetrability of hard containers pictured here. This is quite the narrow-minded approach that the USFS sounds like it has stuck with for 30 years while the IGBC has continued to expand and refine its approach. Not only does this method ignore numerous physical and ethological ("ethological" is not a typo) questions, but it is utterly incapable of any meaningful evaluation of a container that is not rigid.
"


I have finally received a response, and it still isn't super clear or helpful:

"As maybe you’re aware, as you referenced them in your initial email, the US Forest Service (on the national level) works closely with IGBC to determine bear safe practices and products. This is primarily developed for Grizzlies in/near Montana, but often these metrics and parameters are implemented by land management agencies (including the US Forest Service and National Park Service) across the country. This is a long way of saying that parameters were used from past collaborations between the IGBC and the Forest Service out of Montana."

My reply follows:

"Confusion remains, and that is why I have contacted you. Ursacks are quite popular, but the vague wording of the USFS order implies that containers must be rigid and pass a penetration test. Regarding the matter of this test, I assume that it is in regards to a test/device devised in 1989 by the Missoula Technical Development Center, but you are now implying that you are more reliant on IGBC testing practices. Ursacks are not rigid and don't meet the parameters describes in the order, but they are tested and approved by the IGBC. This is confusing. Would they or would they not be considered an acceptable container under the current order?

Many BWCA visitors are Ursack users, and they are also concerned that the area defined by the current order is impractical for traditional hangs as the forest is still recovering from the Cavity Lake Fire of 2006. There are a lot of questions about whether or not Ursack users will have to invest in some other container in order to be considered compliant with the current order."
 
Jaywalker
distinguished member(2254)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/31/2020 01:20PM
^^^ Interesting that they mention other land management groups like the National Park Service. The NPS has "patchy" approval pattern for the Ursack, with decisions varying by park. Despite being IGBC approved, some NPS parks allow them alone, some require the insert, and some do not allow them. The two National Parks flanking the BWCA - Voyaguers and Isle Royal - both allow Ursacks without the insert.
 
mschi772
distinguished member (431)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/31/2020 04:59PM
mschi772: "mschi772: "I emailed the USFS specifically about Ursacks as that was a common question I was hearing. Pictured here is their reply.







I have sent a follow-up as well that reads:
"Thank-you for the quick response. Since you offered, I would like a more detailed explanation of what methods and evidence-based rationale the USFS uses to evaluate containers in order to qualify or disqualify them as bear-resistant and what data the USFS uses to evaluate the efficacy of its testing/qualification methods."



I have not received another response yet.



As far as I've been able to find, the USFS uses a simple device designed by Missoula Technical Development Center (MTDC) back in 1989 to test the penetrability of hard containers pictured here. This is quite the narrow-minded approach that the USFS sounds like it has stuck with for 30 years while the IGBC has continued to expand and refine its approach. Not only does this method ignore numerous physical and ethological ("ethological" is not a typo) questions, but it is utterly incapable of any meaningful evaluation of a container that is not rigid.
"



I have finally received a response, and it still isn't super clear or helpful:


"As maybe you’re aware, as you referenced them in your initial email, the US Forest Service (on the national level) works closely with IGBC to determine bear safe practices and products. This is primarily developed for Grizzlies in/near Montana, but often these metrics and parameters are implemented by land management agencies (including the US Forest Service and National Park Service) across the country. This is a long way of saying that parameters were used from past collaborations between the IGBC and the Forest Service out of Montana."


My reply follows:


"Confusion remains, and that is why I have contacted you. Ursacks are quite popular, but the vague wording of the USFS order implies that containers must be rigid and pass a penetration test. Regarding the matter of this test, I assume that it is in regards to a test/device devised in 1989 by the Missoula Technical Development Center, but you are now implying that you are more reliant on IGBC testing practices. Ursacks are not rigid and don't meet the parameters describes in the order, but they are tested and approved by the IGBC. This is confusing. Would they or would they not be considered an acceptable container under the current order?


Many BWCA visitors are Ursack users, and they are also concerned that the area defined by the current order is impractical for traditional hangs as the forest is still recovering from the Cavity Lake Fire of 2006. There are a lot of questions about whether or not Ursack users will have to invest in some other container in order to be considered compliant with the current order.""


And the response I received today. We've come full circle. Sigh.

"Regardless of brand, certifications, or origins, the container would need to meet the specs listed below to comply on Alpine Lake/Jasper Lake/Sea Gull Lake/Red Rock Lake/Rog Lake.

§ A securable container

§ Of solid non-pliable material

§ Capable of withstanding 200 foot-pounds of energy

§ When secured and under stress, the container will not have cracks, openings, or hinges that would allow for a bear to gain entry.

Please let me know what within these four specs is offering confusion so I can clarify for your awareness."

Unsurprisingly, my patience for bureaucracy is thin to begin with. My final attempt to actually learn something useful from them follows:

"What I am seeking to learn is how the USFS has chosen those specific requirements? Specifically, please. What are the evidence-based origins and the scientific rationale of those four bullet points? It isn't entirely IGBC because they certainly don't require a container to be made of solid, non-pliable material, and they do allow for small openings as containers like the UHMWPE fabric Ursack can have weave separations of up to 1/4" in diameter and still be considered effectively bear-resistant by the IGBC. I'm a scientist. I would like someone to provide technical answers worthy of a scientist. I have already figured that anyone using an Ursack will not be considered compliant, but I am now seeking a deeper understanding of how my USFS arrives at the decisions it does. Feel free to put me into contact with someone with a better understanding of the science and engineering that informs USFS policies such as this one.

If you are going to insist with your repetition of bullet points without any explanation for what methods and evidence-based rationale the USFS uses to evaluate containers in order to qualify or disqualify them as bear-resistant and what data the USFS uses to evaluate the efficacy of its testing/qualification methods or how someone can, on their own, reliably determine if a container meets those requirements, then please just provide a list of approved containers that the public can look to so that people don't have to ask each other a bunch of speculative questions in a panic. The average person has no way of reliably determining if a container can "withstand 200 ft-lb of energy." I've seen numerous people thinking that this means that if a 200 lb man can sit on the container and not crack it, they're compliant with the order, and I doubt that is at all what the USFS has in mind since that isn't what 200 ft-lb is. There is also no proper definition of what "secured and under stress" means. I would personally prefer specific, scientific, technical information and definitions, but I think the better way to go would be to simply list what containers are compliant for visitors to reference since many people are not scientists nor engineers, and they just want to know if what they have will get them fined or not.

I've already told everyone who has asked that Ursacks are not acceptable despite the IGBC approval and their approval in many national parks since the USFS has chosen to require "solid, non-pliable" material for some reason (one of many things I seek to understand with the technical explanations I'm now seeking)."

Honestly, based on these four bullet points alone, I think a simple blue barrel WOULD meet these requirements. 200 ft-lb (not to be confused with lb-ft) would be about the energy that a 200 lb human has falling from about 1 ft. If you're a little lighter than 200 lb, like 160 lb, add about 3 in to your fall distance. I think a blue barrel can take that since the USFS doesn't define how small of an area that energy should be applied to. Naturally, they should define this to be a small enough area to represent a barrel being slammed into a pointy rock, but they don't. Am I telling people to take blue barrels into the area under this order? Absolutely not. They are not satisfactorily bear-resistant by any decent definition. I'm just illustrating how flawed the USFS bullet points are.
 
07/31/2020 07:18PM
adam: "
Black bear and a BearVault

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sn7oayAaf4k



Black bear and a hanging pack... er... blue barrel...

 
airmorse
distinguished member(2644)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/31/2020 08:40PM
And that's what bear spray is for.
 
LindenTree
distinguished member(2499)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/31/2020 08:40PM
mschi772: "<

And the response I received today. We've come full circle. Sigh.


"Regardless of brand, certifications, or origins, the container would need to meet the specs listed below to comply on Alpine Lake/Jasper Lake/Sea Gull Lake/Red Rock Lake/Rog Lake.


§ A securable container


§ Of solid non-pliable material


§ Capable of withstanding 200 foot-pounds of energy


§ When secured and under stress, the container will not have cracks, openings, or hinges that would allow for a bear to gain entry.


Please let me know what within these four specs is offering confusion so I can clarify for your awareness."

Unsurprisingly, my patience for bureaucracy is thin to begin with. My final attempt to actually learn something useful from them follows:

"What I am seeking to learn is how the USFS has chosen those specific requirements? Specifically, please. What are the evidence-based origins and the scientific rationale of those four bullet points? It isn't entirely IGBC because they certainly don't require a container to be made of solid, non-pliable material, and they do allow for small openings as containers like the UHMWPE fabric Ursack can have weave separations of up to 1/4" in diameter and still be considered effectively bear-resistant by the IGBC. I'm a scientist. I would like someone to provide technical answers worthy of a scientist. I have already figured that anyone using an Ursack will not be considered compliant, but I am now seeking a deeper understanding of how my USFS arrives at the decisions it does. Feel free to put me into contact with someone with a better understanding of the science and engineering that informs USFS policies such as this one.

If you are going to insist with your repetition of bullet points without any explanation for what methods and evidence-based rationale the USFS uses to evaluate containers in order to qualify or disqualify them as bear-resistant and what data the USFS uses to evaluate the efficacy of its testing/qualification methods or how someone can, on their own, reliably determine if a container meets those requirements, then please just provide a list of approved containers that the public can look to so that people don't have to ask each other a bunch of speculative questions in a panic. The average person has no way of reliably determining if a container can "withstand 200 ft-lb of energy." I've seen numerous people thinking that this means that if a 200 lb man can sit on the container and not crack it, they're compliant with the order, and I doubt that is at all what the USFS has in mind since that isn't what 200 ft-lb is. There is also no proper definition of what "secured and under stress" means. I would personally prefer specific, scientific, technical information and definitions, but I think the better way to go would be to simply list what containers are compliant for visitors to reference since many people are not scientists nor engineers, and they just want to know if what they have will get them fined or not.

I've already told everyone who has asked that Ursacks are not acceptable despite the IGBC approval and their approval in many national parks since the USFS has chosen to require "solid, non-pliable" material for some reason (one of many things I seek to understand with the technical explanations I'm now seeking)."

Honestly, based on these four bullet points alone, I think a simple blue barrel WOULD meet these requirements. 200 ft-lb (not to be confused with lb-ft) would be about the energy that a 200 lb human has falling from about 1 ft. If you're a little lighter than 200 lb, like 160 lb, add about 3 in to your fall distance. I think a blue barrel can take that since the USFS doesn't define how small of an area that energy should be applied to. Naturally, they should define this to be a small enough area to represent a barrel being slammed into a pointy rock, but they don't. Am I telling people to take blue barrels into the area under this order? Absolutely not. They are not satisfactorily bear-resistant by any decent definition. I'm just illustrating how flawed the USFS bullet points are."


mschi, I'm surprised that you got that much of a response from the Superior NF. MTDC is "Missoula Technology and Development Center", they mostly test firefighting gear and tools as well as fire behavior models. I'm surprised they are mentioned in a bear proof study, unless it was related to food storage on the fire line related to bear issues.
mschi, your response was very well articulated, I will be curious if you get a answer. Your thin patience for bureaucracy is heart felt with me, and one reason I transferred from the Superior NF after 3 years. The head did not know where the tail was, it is a very top heavy agency. I soon transferred back to the Department of the Interior. An agency that I felt was much more in tune with the the tax payers who payed our salaries and listened to its employees.

Having vented, I still love the BWCA and all it stands for, I do not place any consternation on the rank and file employees of the Superior NF. They are doing their best.
We get our marching orders from those above us.
 
OtherBob
senior member (75)senior membersenior member
 
07/31/2020 09:32PM
The bureaucrats ( I was one once or twice) may be giving you a message by their silence: "We understand what you are saying and your are right, but it does not literally comply with the Rule, so we can't say that. We would get fired if the bosses saw an e-mail from us that says it's all right to ignore the rule because the rule is vague, contradictory, or wrong."

I would not bug them anymore for an answer - I think they have given you what is a favorable reply, even though you would prefer to have a definite scientific black and white ruling that you could pull out to show a ranger.

For what it's worth, the problem is likely temporary - we haven't had any bear reports for 2 weeks or so, so I think our ursine cousins are finding better natural food. I would be surprised if any patrolling ranger would write up a camper for using a blue barrel. Sleeping dogs, and all that.
 
MacCamper
distinguished member(502)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/01/2020 05:37AM
timatkn: "MacCamper: "






30 liter, stashed. The bear bring their own openers!"



Would like the whole story please. Were you there? Hear the story second hand? Just find the pic on the internet? Were the barrels used for food prep? Did people spill food on the barrels. Were they really stashed or did the bear carry it off to the woods? That would help a lot of people that use the camping barrels for further prevention of bear issues."


When? Late fall 2018. Where? Lake Three. Who? Two solo canoeists who connected at a planned destination to complete our trips as a 'group solo'. My friend and I are very accomplished adventure campers with many, many trips and thousands of miles, under our tumplines. The barrels we use are standard issue, non-food, clean and sealed tight. All of our gear is as experienced as we are. I am risk averse but not overly intimidated by bear either black or grizzly.

A very strong gale from the west had hindered our advancement and we stopped for a break on one of the mid lake sites. With time on our hands and in no hurry to leave the BWCA, we stayed an additional night. Between us we had very little food, just our trash bags and a couple of 'reserve meals'.
My only kit, on that trip, was in a 60 liter CCS covered barrel which I had located tightly in five or six finger trunks of a cedar tree about six feet outside my solo tent. I had lifted the barrel up and placed it into the center of the grouping of three to six inch in diameter trunks. My kit was adorned with my pot, pan and plate to wake me should a bear consider my pack an opportunity for investigation.

My partner 'stashed' his 30 liter barrel well off of the beaten path and strapped to a tree. His barrel did contain almost all of our small in quantity, remaining food and trash. I had retained my coffee stash because my m.o. is to be up very early in the morning and I like my "joe".

At about 9:30 pm I was woken up by a bear activating my primitive alarm system. Both my partner, he in his own solo tent about ten yards away, and I blew our whistles and scarred the intruder off. After resetting the tin gear, we went back to bed. At about 11:00 pm we heard another camp on the lake get "raided". At 1:00 am, round two with Yogi began outside my tent. Again, he was dissuaded by a rally of whistles and we went back to bed. Obviously he identified my pack with food (truth be told it could have been any pack in the bear;s line of sight) and was emboldened to go for it even though, intentionally placed, about a half dozen feet from my tent.

The following morning I inspected my kit for damage, none was found which I attribute to the quality of the CCS pack. My buddy was not so fortunate as you can see from the pictures. By dumb luck, the bear had stumbled upon his barrel and identified it as a worthy target.

Lessons learned: In my humble opinion (and likely to stir the pot), if you wish to keep your kit and contents, place it near by your tent so you can defend your property. Make it difficult to steal and alarm the container with whatever it takes to wake you up. Then be sure to wake up and do your job of protecting your camp with whistles, bangers, whatever you devise that would do the trick without injuring the animal. One more tip, the most important one... don't camp on a lake known for bear activity unless your options are limited.

The bear is a creature of habit and self-trained to be an opportunistic feeder.

Perhaps it is time to review the FS bear policy and actually enforce a "fed bear is a dead bear". In the meantime, I will plan accordingly and map my adventures to keep clear or paddle through bear country. My kit will be close by and alarmed, just in case. I have been into the BWCA three times this year and have another two-week trekk planned the later part of August/early September with one more in late September. My plans for the summer of 2020 were turned upside down and I am confined to the overpopulated BWCA. With humanity comes stupidity and uneducated camp styles.

I do not fear the bear and treasure the opportunity to come across them in wilderness settings. My policy is to limit my chances of becoming a victim of bad bear behavior which was instilled by irresponsible and/or uneducated campers.

 
mschi772
distinguished member (431)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/01/2020 07:41AM
OtherBob: "The bureaucrats ( I was one once or twice) may be giving you a message by their silence: "We understand what you are saying and your are right, but it does not literally comply with the Rule, so we can't say that. We would get fired if the bosses saw an e-mail from us that says it's all right to ignore the rule because the rule is vague, contradictory, or wrong."


I would not bug them anymore for an answer - I think they have given you what is a favorable reply, even though you would prefer to have a definite scientific black and white ruling that you could pull out to show a ranger.


For what it's worth, the problem is likely temporary - we haven't had any bear reports for 2 weeks or so, so I think our ursine cousins are finding better natural food. I would be surprised if any patrolling ranger would write up a camper for using a blue barrel. Sleeping dogs, and all that. "


The problem I'm more concerned with at this point isn't the bears but the inability of the USFS to use good science to inform and defend their decisions. Or, at the very least, their inability to articulate that science to a tax-payer seeking information. That is a problem that won't be going away and will haunt us any time they have to make decisions.

There is nothing favorable about repeating the same vague bullet points to someone seeking a better understanding of how those bullet points were chosen. I'm well aware that the individual with SNT who has been emailing me is likely a peon afraid of deviating from the talking points handed down to him and saying too much, but I specifically pointed him to an out in my latest response--put me in touch with someone else.
 
08/01/2020 07:48AM
OtherBob: "The bureaucrats ( I was one once or twice) may be giving you a message by their silence: "We understand what you are saying and your are right, but it does not literally comply with the Rule, so we can't say that. We would get fired if the bosses saw an e-mail from us that says it's all right to ignore the rule because the rule is vague, contradictory, or wrong."


I would not bug them anymore for an answer - I think they have given you what is a favorable reply, even though you would prefer to have a definite scientific black and white ruling that you could pull out to show a ranger.


For what it's worth, the problem is likely temporary - we haven't had any bear reports for 2 weeks or so, so I think our ursine cousins are finding better natural food. I would be surprised if any patrolling ranger would write up a camper for using a blue barrel. Sleeping dogs, and all that. "






I’ve had a couple similar responses half typed. I looked at the persistent asking for information from basically the “messenger” as when back in the ‘90’s I was coming home from a board meeting out East. It was when there was a disruption in flights. Flights were being cancelled right and left. One guy was yelling and screaming at the person behind the counter informing of what to do to get accommodations for the night. Meanwhile we were getting processed and next thing we were at a hotel in line hoping for a room. I got one of the last rooms... worst room I’d ever stayed at in a major name hotel. But I often wonder if that loud guy ever got a room. He had come in on a shuttle as I was getting my room with quite a line behind me. Sometimes we just have to go with whatever. This isn’t a terrible mandate. I’m guessing also that if you show your typical good technique out there the rangers would be fine with it. They would know better then some top dog in an office what really works. We just need to chill on this stuff!
 
thistlekicker
distinguished member (377)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/05/2020 03:11PM
Any updates on the situation around these lakes (Seagull, Red Rock, Alpine, Jasper, Rog)? Still a lot of bear activity?
 
merlyn
senior member (96)senior membersenior member
 
08/05/2020 04:13PM
Just went on Amazon and Ursacks were not available and no time line as to when or if they would be back in stock.
 
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