Plumas National Forest urges “bear awareness”

Black BearQuincy, CA, July 17, 2015– Due to the dry conditions across the Plumas National Forest, the Beckwourth Ranger District is observing an increase in bear activity in the eastern part of the ranger district. All people conducting business or recreating in bear-populated areas should be “bear aware” and exercise caution, especially when preparing and disposing of food.

“Bears are not unusual in this part of the forest—after all, it is their home,” said Deb Bumpus, Beckwourth District Ranger. “We can continue to use & enjoy the forest; we just need to respect their space and not attract their attention.”

According to Bumpus (who is also a fish & wildlife biologist) bears have a highly developed sense of smell and can detect food, garbage or other scented items from miles away. It is important that visitors take steps to secure these items and minimize their odors, to make their work or campsite less attractive to bears.

Residents and visitors are encouraged to follow these guidelines for working and recreating in bear country:

  • Never leave food or coolers unattended.
  • If a bear is observed nearby, pack up your food and trash immediately.
  • If a bear approaches you, move away slowly and get into a vehicle or move to a secure area.
  • Do not leave food or garbage inside fire rings, grills or around your workspace or campsite.
  • Keep work or campsite clean by properly disposing of food scraps and garbage. Use bear-resistant dumpsters, if available, and ensure they are closed properly.
  • Keep sleeping bags, tents and sleeping areas free of food, beverages and scented toiletries.
  • Store food, beverages, toiletries and scented items in bear-resistant lockers or in the trunk of your car, never inside your tent.
  • Don’t sleep in clothes you’ve worn during cooking.

For more information about bear safety, fire restrictions and designated recreation areas, please visit the Plumas National Forest website  (

Metal garbage dumpster that has been damaged by bear - corner of metal bent upward