Bay Area News Group
July 14, 2022
Starting Monday, campers in California’s Desolation Wilderness will be required to store food, trash and all scented items in a bearproof canister.
In announcing the new regulation, the U.S. Forest Service cited bears’ increasing aggression in their search for food in the wilderness south of Lake Tahoe.
One common method of keeping food out of bears’ reach — putting it in a bag and using a rope to fling it over a tree branch — has become less effective, as the animals have learned to retrieve the bags. The Forest Service said that in recent years as many as 10 parties a night have lost their food to bears in the Desolation Wilderness.
The regulation specifies a hard-sided container designed to be bearproof, such as the Bear Vault and Bearikade brands sold in outdoor recreation stores for about $80. The Placerville Ranger Station in Camino, where backpackers can pick up their Desolation Wilderness permits, rents approved canisters for a small fee.
The announcement said violators face a $50 citation — though the official Forest Service order specifies a fine of “not more than $5,000.”
Bear canisters are also required for backpackers in all of Yosemite and Lassen Volcanic national parks and parts of Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks and Inyo, Sierra and Humboldt-Toiyabe national forests.