March 29, 2001
Seeley Swan Pathfinder
Seeley Lake, Montana
The supervisors of the four national forests that comprise the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex have signed a revised, updated special order (LC00-18) governing food storage in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem. First implemented in 1995, then amended in 1998, the special order was developed to promote public safety and to conserve grizzly bear populations by reducing grizzly/human conflicts. The revised special order includes definitions of terms and clarifies specific bear-resistant storage requirements.
Under the special order, human, pet and livestock food and garbage shall be attended or stored in a bear-resistant manner; food or non-food attractants may be "attended" by an adult - daytime, within 100 feet and nighttime, unobstructed view within 50 feet (it is highly recommended that odorous, food or non-food attractants be stored in a bear-resistant manner at least 300 feet from sleeping areas); wildlife carcasses that are within 1/2 mile of any camp or sleeping area shall be stored in a bear-resistant manner during nighttime hours; burnable attractants shall not be buried, discarded or burned in an open campfire; and the responsible party shall report the death and location of livestock to a Forest Service official within 24 hours of discovery. Revisions to the order state that individuals relying on electrical fence to store attractants in a bear-resistant manner are required to have the ability to test electrical output in the field.
Violations of the special order are punishable by a fine of not more than $5000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization, or imprisonment for six months. To aid in public compliance with the order, the Forest Service sponsors a rental program for bear-resistant containers. Also, information on how to build bear-resistant containers or where to purchase them is available.
For more information on the special order or the bear-resistant container rental program, call Forest Service staff at the Seeley Lake Ranger District in Seeley Lake, (460) 677-2233 or Michael Munoz, Rocky Mountain Ranger District, (406) 466-5341.