Food storage, bear interaction guidelines updated for BWCA travelers

If you’re planning to camp in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) in northern Minnesota this summer, new rules are being implemented for food storage to help prevent bear interactions.

Superior National Forest (SNF) officials have issued an updated forest order for the BWCA, requiring that all food, food containers and scented items be safely stored to help prevent bear-human interactions.

A similar order has been issued in previous years to prevent bear and human interactions that are known to pose safety risks.

"Once a bear is ‘rewarded’ with human food or garbage, it is likely to… continue the behavior, which could ultimately lead to the bear being dispatched," said SNF Wildlife Biologist Cheron Ferland in a statement.

People are now required to elevate food sources at least 12 feet above the surface of the ground, and 6 feet horizontally from the trunk of a tree. Scented items such as soap, lip balm and toothpaste should also be monitored.

Items could also be stored in an Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee certified bear resistant container. More details on the official Forest Order can be found here.

The new measures are effective from April 19, 2024, through April 19, 2026.