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Friday, April 3, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports >  Outdoors

When camping this summer, be bear aware or pay the price

In this Wednesday Aug. 1, 2007  photo, a black bear walks across the ground in Lyme, N.H. (Cheryl Senter / AP)
In this Wednesday Aug. 1, 2007 photo, a black bear walks across the ground in Lyme, N.H. (Cheryl Senter / AP)

Campers heading into the hills should remember to store their food and waste in bear-proof containers this summer.

Failing to do so could end with an unpleasant visit from a bear or other large animal.

And on National Forest land at least, it could also mean a fine.

The Colville National Forest and the Coeur d’Alene Panhandle National Forest both have rules governing the proper storage of food, beverages and other animal attractants. On the Colville National Forest, for instance, failing to properly store these items can result in a $500 fine or six months in jail.

Forest Service staff members aren’t looking to issue tickets, said spokeswoman Jennifer Knutson. Instead she said in an email that, “our goal is to minimize the chance of a human/bear interaction, and educating people on how to do this is our first concern.”

Acceptable storage includes: Buildings that are secure from wildlife entry, hard-sided vehicles, storage containers certified by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, or suspended at least 10 feet off the ground at all points and at least 4 feet horizontally from any vertical support.

Attractants, such as food leftovers, bacon grease, or animal entrails, must not be buried, discarded, or burned in a campfire. These items must be disposed of in bear-resistant garbage containers, or acceptably stored and packed out.

And, all harvested animals carcasses must be within sight and control at all times, day or night, unless the carcass is: At least .5 mile from any camping or sleeping area or 200 yards from a National Forest trail or acceptably stored.

Animal entrails may be left in place only if farther than .5 mile from camping or sleeping areas and further than 200 yards of a National Forest trails.

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