HIKING — Bear activity has prompted the Idaho Panhandle National Forests today to temporarily close popular trails to Beehive and Harrison Lakes in the upper Pack River drainage of the Selkirk Mountains.
The two trails and the surrounding area are closed to the public until further notice to ensure public safety, said Jason Kirchner, Forest Service spokesman in Coeur d'Alene.
A bear recently entered a camp site near the Beehive Lakes Trail and was able to remove camping equipment and human food, he said.
Campers have to step up and follow simple bear-wise rules to protect campers who come after them as well as public access to these coveted backcountry areas.
This bear — the people involved couldn't verify whether it was a black bear or grizzly — likely had been lured by food previously.
One group's sloppy camping can unnecessarily screw up the outdoor experience for everybody, as this instance proves.
And neglecting to hang or protect food usually brings a bitter end for the bears, as it did this month for bears that had become food-conditioned in Montana's Smith River State Park (see story).
Here are the rules from the Panhandle National Forests
There is a mandatory food storage order in effect from April 1 through December annually. All food and beverages including canned food, soda and beer, garbage, grease, processed livestock or pet food and scented flavored toiletries must be unavailable to bears and stored in bear resistant containers at night and when unattended. For more information on proper food storage, members of the public are encouraged to visit the Idaho Panhandle National Forest’s food storage web site.
Temporary closures are the first step in ensuring public and bear safety when problematic encounters occur.
For more information please contact the Sandpoint Ranger District at (208) 263-5111 or visit the Idaho Panhandle National Forests Website.