Food Storage Information

A food storage order signed in 1989 requires specific food storage practices across the Colville National Forest to reduce the potential for human-wildlife conflicts. The food storage requirements described in the order apply to all Colville National Forest systems lands and campgrounds.

Food, carcasses, and attractants must be stored in a bear-resistant container or stored in a bear-resistant manner if they are unattended. These same items must also be stored in camp at night, unless they are being consumed, prepared for transport or storage. For specific information on the order, please view the following:

If you have additional questions related to food storage requirements on the Colville National Forest please contact your local Forest Service office.

Photo: Grizzly Bear in a field.

Approved Storage:

Per special forest order 36 CFR 261.58(cc) forest visitors must store all wildlife attractants in a hard-sided vehicle or animal-resistant container, when their campsite is unoccupied or when sleeping.  Wildlife attractants include;

  • food
  • beverages
  • pet food
  • garbage
  • other attractants (scented items like soap, candles, deodorant, toothpaste). 

An animal-resistant container is one that has been approved by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (  Most bear-resistant containers sold in local outdoor retail stores meet these requirements.  Pop-up campers are not bear-resistant.  Most food coolers are not bear resistant.

When camping away from your vehicle (ex. backpacking) suspend all wildlife attractants at least 10 feet above ground (usually in a tree) and 4 feet from any vertical support.   

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 disposed of in a bear-resistant garbage container.

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


Image: A diagram showing a tree with a proper food cash stored in it.

Image: Two types of bear resistant containers, One boxed shape the other cylinder shaped.













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:
Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, Bear-Resistant Equipment