Bear-resistant container rule effective next month
By Derreck Booth Staff
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GAINESVILLE - Overnight campers on a stretch of Appalachian Trail will be required to carry a bear-resistant container beginning next month.
U.S. Forest Service officials said the containers can seal in odors from garbage, toiletries and food. They are also tamper resistant against extreme force.
The new regulation is in response to what the forest service calls conflicts between people and black bears in the region. The measure runs until June and involves a five mile section of trail between Jarrard and Neels Gaps.
“We’re taking this measure to protect campers and make our campsites less alluring to the bears that live here,” Blue Ridge District Ranger Andy Baker said.
The rule is mandatory for all dispersed camping in the Blood Mountain Wilderness Area within a quarter mile of the trail, as well as camping at Blood Mountain Shelter and Woods Hole Shelter.
Forest Service officials said the containers are available at most stores that sell camping equipment.
So called "bear-bagging" and hanging food bags between trees are no longer acceptable.