Camping in Bear Country

Black Bear walking through field of wildflowers


Black Bears are frequently observed on the GMUG National Forests. Typically Black Bears avoid people but they can learn to find food in campsites! (Photo Courtesy: David Weiss)

The Forest Service has issued Forest Order (GMUG NF 2017-04) to protect people and property from possible bear interactions that have been increased over time on th GMUG National Forest.

The following prohibitions are included:

  • Possessing or storing restricted elements that may attract bears in Restricted Areas from March 1 through November 30th of each year (except when acceptably possessed or stored)
  • Hanging or suspending animal carcasses within 100 yards of the Restricted Areas

Restricted Elements defined:

  • Food- any substance (including packaged substances), solids or liquids (excluding water) which may be eaten or otherwise taken into the body to sustain health or life, provide energy or promote growth of any person, livestock/pet.
  • Refuse- the remains of those substances or the packaging the substance came in. Includes but not limited to: soft drinks, alcohol beverages, packaged foods, raw or unprocessed foods, exterior hulls, husks or skins, empty food and beverage packages/containers and visible scraps of food from eating or feeding pets/livestock  
  • Items means any substance except baled hay or hay cubes (without additives) or things that may attract bears. These items typically are a food stuff residual on a cooking implement or surface or an item with scents that would attract a bear. These items include but are not limited to: cooking utensils and equipment, cooking grills, personal hygiene/care products, pet, bird or other animal food/feeders and processed livestock feed and grains.
  • Bird, fish or other animal refers to hunted or fished animals

Restricted Areas – All developed campground on the GMUG National Forest (list of areas)

Review the Forest Order GMUG 2017-04


2 bears havok in campsite


Secure your trash and food!

  • Never intentionally feed a bear
  • Stash your trash – use bear proof containers
  • Store attractants safely – Store food, beverages, and toiletries in bear proof lockers
  • Keep a clean tent – don’t bring anything with an odor into your tent. Don’t sleep in clothes you cook in
  • Lock RV’s and Vehicles – close the windows and lock up at night and when you leave your campsite



Interagency GRIZZLY BEAR Committee - Information on bear proof food containers.  

Smart Bear Camping Tips from Colorado Parks and Wildlife- print and go