Bear-resistant Food Storage Boxes Installed

Bear-resistant food storage boxes get installed
at Grand Teton campgrounds
October 21, 2010
Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott announced today that
52 new bear-resistant food storage boxes were recently installed in Grand Teton National Park, thanks in part to financial support from the Grand Teton National Park Foundation (GTNPF) and concessioner franchise fees. Durable bear-resistant food boxes provide an important and convenient method for visitors to properly store human foods away from the reach of bears, and the acquisition of these sturdy boxes has been a high priority of the park’s bear management program for several years. To date, a total of 208 boxes have been purchased and placed at campgrounds and picnic areas located throughout the park. The latest boxes were installed at Flagg Ranch, Lizard Creek, Colter Bay and Signal Mountain campgrounds.

In an effort to help reduce human-bear conflicts, the GTNPF began a target campaign in 2008 to secure money for the purchase of food storage boxes; the Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting Grand Teton National Park by raising funds for special programs and projects. In addition, the Grand Teton Lodge Company, an authorized park concessioner, supplied further funding in 2008 through a campground improvement program required under their concessions contract. Other funding was supplied by the National Park Service through concessioner franchise fees.

More than 3.5 million visitors come to Grand Teton each year—most during the summer months—and thousands of them picnic or stay overnight at one of the park’s 1,230 campsites. Rangers document almost daily violations of food storage regulations by careless or uninformed visitors during the course of the tourist season. Although overall compliance with food storage regulations is high, it only takes one incident of a bear obtaining food for it to get “human food-conditioned” and become a potential nuisance bear. For public safety reasons, it often becomes necessary to euthanize food-conditioned bears.

Proper food storage is vital to prevent bears from becoming human food-conditioned as they search for available food sources throughout the park; however, nearly 75% of the park’s front country campsites lack these important food storage containers. The park has identified approximately 800 front country sites that are suitable for the placement of bear-resistant food storage boxes. By being widely available for visitors to use, these boxes can prevent bears from becoming food-conditioned and better ensure that they remain wild, naturally foraging animals.

Bear-resistant food storage boxes cost approximately $1,100 each. The GTNPF donors have generously provided funding for 94 boxes since their bear box campaign began in 2008. The generosity of individual GTNPF donors is often acknowledged though the placement of recognition plaques on a particular box. For further information about the bear box campaign, contact Leslie Mattson at 307.732.0629, or email