BWCA Food Storage Order - Effect July 30th 2021 Boundary Waters Trip Planning Forum
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      Food Storage Order - Effect July 30th 2021     
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adam
Moderator
 
08/04/2021 07:09PM  
The food storage order, effective July 30, 2021, requires all visitors to properly store food unless in the process of eating, preparing or transporting food (i.e. bringing fish caught in a nearby lake to a campsite or carrying food down to the beach for a picnic). Proper storage reduces the chance of bears being rewarded when in campsites, trails, portages, landings or other recreational areas. Proper food storage can be done in two ways: bear canisters or by hanging food packs 12 feet above the ground.

“Acceptably stored” means:
• Stored in bear resistant container or;
• Stored in a closed vehicle constructed of solid, nonpliable material or;
• Suspended at least ten feet clear of the ground at all points and four feet horizontally from any supporting limb or pole; or
• Disposed of in provided trash receptacles.

“Bear resistant container” means a securable container constructed of solid non-pliable material capable of withstanding 200 foot-pounds of energy (using the approved bear resistant container impact testing machine). When secured and under stress the container will not have any cracks, openings, or hinges that would allow a bear to gain entry by biting or pulling with its claws. Wood containers are not considered bear resistant unless they are reinforced with metal.

“Food” means any nourishing substance, solid or liquid (excluding baled hay or water) or refuse thereof, that is not native to the immediate area, which is or may be eaten or otherwise taken into the body to sustain life, provide energy, or promote growth of any person or animal.

“Refuse” means food waste or any containers to include packaging materials of plastic, foil, cloth, and metal, that have contained food, as defined above, or other attractants, as defined below.

“Other Attractant” means an odoriferous item capable of attracting bears and other wildlife (e.g. toothpaste, deodorant, lotion, sunscreen, fishing bait, insect repellent, perfumes, and cooking spray).

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yogi59weedr
distinguished member(2513)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/04/2021 08:03PM  
Sounds pretty straight forward to me.
Bobsandberg82
member (5)member
 
08/04/2021 08:14PM  
What about food prep items such as pots, pans, utensils, cutting boards etc.? Ive wondered about this before the order. I hang my whole food pack with all related items and its just so heavy. I have not damaged any trees in the process just curious what others do.
drmau1
member (30)member
 
08/05/2021 12:34AM  
All excellent advice that should have been all along. Maybe if people would have done this there would not be a problem with bears.
08/05/2021 04:03AM  
Seeing is how bears are omnivores and quite opportunists it would seem logical that people out to be hanging their bat as well...how many of you do that?
adam
Moderator
 
08/05/2021 05:42AM  
Richwon4: "Seeing is how bears are omnivores and quite opportunists it would seem logical that people out to be hanging their bat as well...how many of you do that?
"


I believe bait is considered an attractant so that is likely the case.
08/05/2021 08:39AM  
Bobsandberg82: "What about food prep items such as pots, pans, utensils, cutting boards etc.? Ive wondered about this before the order. I hang my whole food pack with all related items and its just so heavy. I have not damaged any trees in the process just curious what others do."
I do not think it is necessary to haul your pots and pans, etc. into the trees. If they are clean, they are not an attractant.
zackcwilliams
 
08/05/2021 09:08AM  
Does this mean at portages too? If we're double portaging, do we need to leave someone with the packs or hang them until we return?
08/05/2021 10:43AM  
zackcwilliams: "Does this mean at portages too? If we're double portaging, do we need to leave someone with the packs or hang them until we return?"
I seriously doubt that you would need to do either. However, I suggest that you call one of the ranger stations if you want a definitive answer.
08/05/2021 11:16AM  
You might consider leaving someone with the packs/food if double portaging. Bears have made off with food packs from unattended packs at the end of portages.
ScottL
senior member (69)senior membersenior member
 
08/05/2021 11:17AM  
zackcwilliams: "Does this mean at portages too? If we're double portaging, do we need to leave someone with the packs or hang them until we return?"

On my next trip when we're double portaging I'm going to let my trip mates know that I'll have to stay with the food pack after the first trip and I'll assure them that I will faithfully guard it while they go back and carry the rest of the gear!
08/05/2021 12:31PM  
Leaving a food pack sitting on a portage would be a violation of the order.
rbcevergreen
member (15)member
 
08/05/2021 01:11PM  
I've travelled with heavy-weight, food-grade 5 gallon buckets with gamma seals when tripping in the BWCA. Always double bag (freezer ziplock) food inside the buckets, too. Never had a problem before (only been in 3 times), but as the buckets don't qualify as "bear resistant", guess I'll be figuring out how to hoist them up for this trip. Not going to worry about it on the portages, though.
bottomtothetap
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08/05/2021 05:25PM  
cycle003: "Leaving a food pack sitting on a portage would be a violation of the order."

The order does state: "unless...being transported". If the sole purpose of a portage is to get you and your belongings from one lake to another, could it be argued that your food container on a portage means that the food is in transport?
TrekScouter
distinguished member (370)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/05/2021 09:54PM  
I hope this is a temporary situation. I bought my Ursack / Opsack system to avoid the hanging monkey-business.
andym
distinguished member(5094)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
08/05/2021 11:13PM  
One double portaging trip that has been mentioned before is leaving the food pack somewhat up the trail from the portage end. This is to avoid bears that are watching portage ends. Not sure if this is much of a problem, although I know it has happened, or if it is an effective solution.
adam
Moderator
 
08/06/2021 08:26AM  
TrekScouter: "I hope this is a temporary situation. I bought my Ursack / Opsack system to avoid the hanging monkey-business."

I don't know that the Superior National Forest allows Ursacks as an approved bear container?

08/06/2021 09:00AM  
adam: "TrekScouter: "I hope this is a temporary situation. I bought my Ursack / Opsack system to avoid the hanging monkey-business."


I don't know that the Superior National Forest allows Ursacks as an approved bear container?


"


They told me that neither Ursacks nor the blue plastic barrels are considered bear-resistant containers under the Food Storage Order 09-09-21-09.
TrekScouter
distinguished member (370)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/06/2021 09:04AM  
boonie: "adam: "TrekScouter: "I hope this is a temporary situation. I bought my Ursack / Opsack system to avoid the hanging monkey-business."
I don't know that the Superior National Forest allows Ursacks as an approved bear container?
"
They told me that neither Ursacks nor the blue plastic barrels are considered bear-resistant containers under the Food Storage Order 09-09-21-09.
"

I'm not surprised. That's why I'm hoping this is temporary.
zackcwilliams
 
08/06/2021 09:25AM  
I did call the Ranger Station in Grand Marais for more details. They didn't think it was necessary to hang at portages, but that we should try not to leave the food unattended. They recommended staggering people every 5 min to have someone near the packs.
08/06/2021 01:50PM  
I'm also hoping it doesn't continue next year, TrekScouter.

Not leaving the food unattended or staggering people will be awkward is certainly not a solution for solos.
08/06/2021 07:59PM  
bottomtothetap: "cycle003: "Leaving a food pack sitting on a portage would be a violation of the order."


The order does state: "unless...being transported". If the sole purpose of a portage is to get you and your belongings from one lake to another, could it be argued that your food container on a portage means that the food is in transport? "


Maybe. I suppose my interpretation could be wrong, but I doubt anyone in the Forest Service will tell you it’s ok to leave a food pack unattended on a portage.
Hammertime
distinguished member (142)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/08/2021 10:58PM  
My biggest question on this is how the rangers would enforce it.

Unless the rangers happen upon your camp in the morning while you’re still sleeping or you’re out fishing with it left on the ground unattended you always have plausible deniability regarding whether you are actively using your food pack.

Stay safe out there everyone. A pulley and a couple ropes are cheap relative to the total cost of a trip.
eyepaddle
senior member (66)senior membersenior member
 
08/10/2021 10:03AM  
I have always done the Cliff Jacobson "stash in the woods" method for our food packs. Everything is sealed and double bagged and stashed in the woods away from camp. I've done this on every trip for the past 15+ years and never had a bear issue. Obviously I disagree with the new storage orders....frustrating that careless newbies have forced this on all of us. I certainly hope it isn't permanent.
mutz
distinguished member(1253)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/10/2021 11:34AM  
eyepaddle: "I have always done the Cliff Jacobson "stash in the woods" method for our food packs. Everything is sealed and double bagged and stashed in the woods away from camp. I've done this on every trip for the past 15+ years and never had a bear issue. Obviously I disagree with the new storage orders....frustrating that careless newbies have forced this on all of us. I certainly hope it isn't permanent."



Unfortunately this cannot be blamed on careless newbies. I have 40+ Trips Since the mid 80’s and have asked dozens of people how they stash their food. People have been haphazardly stashing food as long as people have been going to the BWCA. Over the years I’ve talked to people who hang food, only take bear resistant containers, hide the food pack in the woods and just leave it in camp. This is definitely not a new problem, just finally being seriously dealt with.
TrekScouter
distinguished member (370)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/04/2021 07:59AM  
TrekScouter: "boonie: "adam: "TrekScouter: "I hope this is a temporary situation. I bought my Ursack / Opsack system to avoid the hanging monkey-business."
I don't know that the Superior National Forest allows Ursacks as an approved bear container?
"
They told me that neither Ursacks nor the blue plastic barrels are considered bear-resistant containers under the Food Storage Order 09-09-21-09.
"

I'm not surprised. That's why I'm hoping this is temporary."


Looks like I got my wish!
Food Storage Order Amended
GeneH
distinguished member (103)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/04/2021 12:51PM  
Honest question: unless doing a single carry, how would a solo canoeist not leave their food pack sitting on a portage? Use a large canister, remove it from the carry harness, then reharness it, and so forth at every portage?
09/04/2021 02:21PM  
There are some portages in the BWCA such as the four leading out of SAK and into Kek where leaving one's food pack was a problem due to nuisance bears. There are many portages in the park where this is less of an issue. As a soloist, I've had to leave the pack/barrel with my boat while I went back for the portage pack. I think the key for me was to do the research as to where nuisance bears were a problem and then be especially vigilant on those portages or plan a route that avoided those areas.
09/04/2021 03:31PM  
GeneH: "Honest question: unless doing a single carry, how would a solo canoeist not leave their food pack sitting on a portage? Use a large canister, remove it from the carry harness, then reharness it, and so forth at every portage?"
I travel solo. Back when I used a food pack and hung it at night, on portages I would often clip it to my canoe with a carabiner while i carried other gear across. I figured if a bear wanted to do a grab and run, it would be that much harder. I saw the portage issue as one reason why I switched to a blue barrel. While not as reliable as a true bear canister, they are a lot better than a food pack laying on the ground.
09/04/2021 04:27PM  
Due to entry closure my kids and I recently did a trip to VNP. I'll tell you...the bear boxes sure spoiled us. What are the chances we get those in the BWCA?
TrekScouter
distinguished member (370)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/04/2021 05:04PM  
GeneH: "Honest question: unless doing a single carry, how would a solo canoeist not leave their food pack sitting on a portage? Use a large canister, remove it from the carry harness, then reharness it, and so forth at every portage?"
I'm a soloist. If I were on a long portage in a remote area where bear activity has recently been reported, I would not hesitate to remove the food from my pack and place my BearVault in a low area, or tie my Ursack to a tree. I'd rather have some peace of mind and enjoy the portage trail than be concerned about Ursus americanus making off with my pack. On the other hand, if it were a short portage with other paddlers likely to pass while I'm away, the decision would probably be different.

Consider that some portages are as short as ten rods. I think the "unless...being transported" clause allows one to exercise some common sense and good judgement.
 
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