Food Storage Information

A food storage order signed in 2011 requires food storage practice across the Forest to reduce the potential for human-wildlife encounters.

Food, carcasses, and attractants must be stored in a bear-resistant container or stored in a bear-resistant manner if they are unattended. In the front country (most of the Forest) these same items must also be stored in camp at night, unless they are being consumed, prepared for transport or storage. In some limited backcountry areas on the Ninemile and Seeley Lake Ranger Districts during the night these items may be attended instead of stored. For specific information on the new order and to view specific locations of backcountry and frontcountry areas for each district, please see the food storage order and map.

Photo of a grizzly bear

“We know that unattended food or attractants, or food that is not stored properly, often leads to an encounter with wildlife – whether that is a deer or a black bear or a grizzly bear. And when you have a wild animal and a human in that situation you have the potential for harm to both – food storage is the best and easiest way to address something that is entirely preventable.”

-- Lolo National Forest Wildlife Biologist Lorraine Brewer

Approved Storage:

A bear resistant container that has been approved by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee. Please see their website at http://www.igbconline.org/html/container.html. Most bear-resistant containers sold in local outdoor retail stores meet these requirements.

Stored in a bear resistant manner means hung 10 feet off the ground and four feet horizontally from a tree or other structure; stored in a hard-sided camper; vehicle trunk, or cab or trailer cab: in a hard-sided building, or stored using an electric fence.

Wildlife Carcasses:

Carcasses that are within a half-mile of any camp or sleeping area must be stored in an approved bear-proof manner during nighttime hours. If a carcass is within an attended camp during daylight hours it may be on the ground.

Burning Attractants:

Attractants are things like leftover food, bacon grease, etc. They cannot be buried, burned in an open campfire, or left behind in camp. All attractants must be stored in a sealed container and packed out with garbage – or placed in a container and burned so that the contents do not leach into the ground.

 

Store your food and attractants, livestock food and garbage in a bear-resistant manner or use a bear-resistant container

 

illustration of food hanging from a tree branch


Illustrations of food storage containers


Attractants such as leftover food, bacon grease, etc.

Any harvested animal carcasses, including fish, birds, or other animal parts that are within a half-mile of any camping or sleeping area must be stored. If an animal carcass is within an attended camp during daylight hours it may be on the ground.

Additional resources on bear-resistant containers:

View the Lolo NF food storage fact sheet