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Rogue National
Wild and Scenic River


You Are In Bear Country

Aggressive bear behavior has been observed throughout the years in the Rogue River Canyon. Problem bear-human encounters have dramatically decreased since electric fences and food hoists were installed along the river and river users began consistently keeping a clean camp. By bear-proofing your camp, you are contributing to the effort of keeping the bears looking for their native food supply rather than human food or garbage. In the past, bears have been known to get into coolers, dry boxes, and trash; on and off the boat. Please keep your camps clean and secure your food and garbage.

Black Bears on the Rogue River
Black Bears on the Rogue River

The black bear, found throughout the Rogue River canyon, varies in color from cinnamon to black. They generally weigh between 100 and 300 pounds and stand about 3 feet tall at the shoulder. It can be a great experience to see a black bear on the Rogue River, but at a safe distance. A keen sense of smell enables bears to sniff out food you may have in camp. You are most likely to be visited by a bear in the early morning or late evening. Bears have poor eyesight, so make sure they can hear you so your encounter is not too close!

A Bear Observation Form (PDF) is available to help document aggressive bears as well as the overall health and population of bears along the Wild section of the Rogue River. Please take the time to fill out a form so the managing agencies can keep track of bear activity. Doing so will also allow for any problems to be addressed accordingly. Whether there are problems with bears in the Rogue River Canyon, or not, you should always secure your food and garbage at night to discourage pests from raiding your camp.

Feeding bears or allowing them access to human food or garbage can create serious problems:

Black Bears Bears lose their instinctive fear of humans.
Black Bears Nuisance bears can be unpredictable and dangerous when they encounter humans.
Black Bears Nuisance bears can damage property and injure people.
Black Bears Relocation efforts have been found to be unsuccessful. Nuisance bears may be destroyed.

A Fed Bear is a Dead Bear:

Black Bears Keep a clean camp and take food scraps and grease with you when you leave.
Black Bears Do not cook or store food in or near your tent. Odors may attract bears.
Black Bears Take food or garbage out of your boat, even if the boat is anchored offshore. Rafts have been punctured from bears climbing into them.
Black Bears Never feed or approach a bear! If a bear enters your camp, immediately clap your hands, bang pots together, or throw objects at it from a safe distance to scare it away.

Secure all food, garbage, and toiletries by one of the following:

Food Hoists

Food Hoists - Located at Blossom Bar, Brushy Bar, Tate Creek, and Camp Tacoma.

Electric Fences

Electric Fences - Located at Whiskey Creek, Horseshoe Bend, Rogue River Ranch; Upper/Middle/Lower Half Moon Bar; Brushy Bar; Upper/ Lower Solitude; Upper/Lower Tate Creek; and Upper/Middle/Lower Camp Tacoma.

Bear Proof Boxes

Bear Proof Boxes - Located at Blossom Bar, Brushy Bar, and Camp Tacoma.

Boaters should put coolers, dry boxes, and garbage in the fenced areas for overnight storage. When you are done using the fence, please close it and remember to leave it turned ON. Hikers should store food and garbage in fenced areas, bear proof boxes, or up a food hoist. If everyone takes the proper precautions in keeping a clean, bear-proof camp, bears will naturally be drawn to their native food sources and will leave human food, garbage and gear alone.

Bear-Proofing Your Camp when electric fences, food hoists, and bear boxes are unavailable:

  • Wipe off your coolers with ammonia or bleach. Put open containers of ammonia on top of coolers and then cover the ammonia with a tarp. Covering the ammonia with a tarp has had better success in getting rid of bears than when the ammonia wasn't covered with a tarp.
  • Stack and strap coolers and other food containers together to make a mountain of objects that would be difficult to get into or move. Place cans or pots and pans (noise makers) on top of your stack of containers.
  • Leave a light on in camp or on top of the coolers/food containers overnight.
  • Suspend garbage and food in a tree.

Be Bear Safe:

  • When traveling along the river, remember to make noise so you do not surprise a bear. They will most likely retreat long before you ever see them if they can hear you coming.
  • Don't get between a sow and her cub. Mother bears are very protective of their young.
  • If you encounter a bear, stay calm. Slowly back away from the bear and leave. Don't turn and run; the bear may run after you. Don't challenge a bear!
  • Keep your dogs under control at all times, treat dog food like human food and secure accordingly, don't allow your dog to challenge a bear, especially a sow with cubs.
  • Remember, this is their home and you are the visitor.

Help Keep the Wild Rogue Bears Wild

Report bear incidents and encounters to:

Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest
Gold Beach Ranger District
Attn: Jessie Dubuque
29279 Ellensburg Avenue
Gold Beach, OR 97444
or fill out a Bear Observation Form (PDF)