DULUTH, MN-- Storing your camping food properly is a must as Superior National Forest leaders see an increase in bear visitors.
The Food Storage Order goes into effect Friday, July 30, for all Superior National Forest and BWCAW visitors to protect both bears and campers.
The order requires 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).
Superior National Forest Wildlife Biologist Cheron Ferland says the rise in interactions is the result of a number of factors.
“We finalized a new bear action plan this year which calls for more systematic reporting, so we probably have more reports being submitted, but this by itself doesn’t account for the increase. It’s also because there are more visitors on the landscape and the fact that we are in an extreme drought, which has led to a poor berry crop,” said Ferland.
It's normal that visitors will see bears, the concern is lingering ones.
Ones diving into dumpsters, stealing packs, and becoming a nuisance, then the bear would have to be dispatched.
Several areas have had reoccurring bear sightings and interactions including; Rose Lake, Duncan Lake, and Daniel Lake on the Gunflint Ranger District; the Moose Lake Chain and several campgrounds including Birch Lake, Fall Lake, and Fenske Lake on the Kawishiwi Ranger District; and Agnes Lake on the La Croix District.
Forest leaders say it is up to everyone to do their part to help prevent bears from becoming habituated and subsequently a nuisance or dangerous.
The order was in place last year for a limited number of lakes in the Wilderness on the Gunflint District.
However, this year, the order applies to the entire Forest.