Keep Bears Wild!


This healthy American black bear, seen here on an official Tahoe National Forest wildlife camera, is foraging within its natural habitat in the Little Truckee River watershed near Truckee, CA. Let's help keep keep bears like this wild!

As campgrounds and developed recreation sites on the Tahoe National Forest begin to open, it’s extremely important that visitors safely dispose of garbage and take all necessary steps to keep food away from bears. Bears are especially active in late spring and early summer.

At Tahoe National Forest campgrounds, visitors are required to store food in bear-resistant containers (storage lockers/bear boxes) when provided and dispose of garbage in dumpsters -be sure to close and lock these containers!

If you live in or rent a home adjacent to the Tahoe National Forest please remember to lock garbage, remove bird feeders, glean fruit off trees or pick up any that has fallen, store pet food in secure locations, and consider installing electric fences around chicken coops and beehives.

California law prohibits the feeding of any big game mammal.

Tips for safe-guarding campsites against bear encounters:

  • Never feed wildlife.
  • Always store food (including pet food), drinks, toiletries, coolers, cleaned grills, cleaned dishes, cleaning products, and all other scented items in the bear-resistant containers (storage lockers/bear boxes) when provided at campsites. New bear resistant coolers that come equipped with padlock devices should always be locked to meet bear resistant requirements.
  • Clean barbecue grills after each use and store properly.
  • Always place garbage in bear-resistant dumpsters in campgrounds or in bear-resistant containers at campsites (storage lockers/bear boxes). Close and lock after each use.
  • Never leave food or scented items unattended in campsites, tents, or vehicles. Bears can open vehicle doors and they may cause damage trying to gain entrance if there are scented items inside.
  • Never leave garbage at campsites.

Tips for hikers and backpackers:

  • Hike in groups and keep an eye on small children.
  • Keep dogs on leash. Off-leash dogs can provoke bears to respond defensively.
  • Watch for signs of bears, such as bear scat along trails or claw marks on trees. Stay alert. Make noise while on trails so that bears know you are there and can avoid you.
  • Never approach bears or cubs. Always, keep a safe social distance and never get between a sow and her cubs.
  • Store food in portable bear-resistant food storage canisters while recreating in the backcountry.

To report human-bear conflicts in California, contact the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Northern California dispatch at 916-445-0380. Wildlife incidents in California may also be reported online using the CDFW Wildlife Incident Reporting (WIR) system at If the issue is an immediate threat, call the local sheriff’s department or 911.

For more information about peacefully coexisting with bears, visit to learn everything about living, visiting and playing responsibly in bear country. By working together, we can help Keep Tahoe National Forest Bears Wild!

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