Black bears are becoming increasingly aggressive and have recently torn into backpacks and investigated tents in search of food or other scented items. These bears have learned that there is a good probability of success with this method. To stop this association of humans with easy food access you MUST use a hard sided bear-proof food storage canister (manufactured specifically for this purpose) to store ALL food, trash, toiletries (e.g. soap, sunscreen, toothpaste) and other scented items. Bears are very successful at retrieving items hung in trees, buried in the ground, covered with rocks or logs, and left in tents or packs.
All dispersed use area visitors who are camping are required to carry and use hard sided bear-proof food storage canisters. Canisters must be models approved by the Sierra Interagency Black Bear Group. Information on approved models is available online at www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/containers.htm . The canisters must be of sufficient size to permit storage of all food, toiletries, sunscreen, dog food, surfboard wax, insect repellent, and other scented items for the duration of the trip. Each person must possess a minimum of one canister, and must use the canister to store the above types of items, plus any food scraps and scented trash items such as empty cans, energy/candy wrappers, surf wax wrappers etc.
Bear proof canisters are required for every backpacker in the King Range NCA. Backpackers failing to use bear canisters are subject to being fined (43 CFR 8365.1-6).
Please plan ahead. Bear proof canisters are available for rent for $5.00 per canister per trip with a $75.00 credit card deposit per canister (required) at the following locations: King Range NCA Project Office (1/4 mile west of Whitethorn Post Office on Shelter Cove Rd), the Arcata Field Office (1695 Heindon Rd, Arcata), and the Petrolia Store (5 miles from the Mattole trailhead). Please note: Petrolia Store accepts CASH ONLY for rental of cans. During summer, bear cans may not be available and can not be reserved so plan accordingly.
You may return canisters to any of the above locations during business hours. NOTE: KING RANGE NCA PROJECT OFFICE HAS A 24 HOUR DROP BOX. These canisters have a 600 cubic inch capacity and provide one person with storage for no more than 3 days worth of food, toiletries, etc. It is your responsibility to properly store all of the items listed above. The bears will get anything left out!
Don't go hungry and contribute to the altered behavior of these wild creatures. Proper storage saves bears.
Report all incidents and sightings by calling 707-986-5400 or emailing King Range Project Office. Please contact us if you have questions or for more information.