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New Food Restrictions for Apache-Sitegreaves

National Park Service

Officials with the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests have issued new orders to keep bears away from campsites. As Arizona Public Radio’s Justin Regan reports, campers will now have to keep food locked in their cars overnight. 

The move comes after The Arizona Game and Fish Department put down a bear that was repeatedly returning to campsites in the Big Lake Recreation Area near Eager. The order requires campers to keep food, trash and toiletries in a vehicle with a hard roof or another solid container at night. Also dining and sleeping areas have to be separate, and feeding any wildlife in the campground is illegal.

Pam Baltimore is with the Apache-Sitegreaves National Forest. She says bears have a very strong sense of smell and are skilled at finding food.

“They can rip through strong metal containers. They just have the strength and the claws to get through almost anything except for a hard sided vehicle,” says Baltimore.

Baltimore also suggests wearing separate clothes for eating and sleeping. The bear order will be in effect until the end of 2017 and campers found in violation of it could be fined. 

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