Food Storage Information

A food storage order enacted in the fall of 2011 requires specific food storage practices across the Bonners Ferry Ranger District, Priest Lake Ranger District, and portions of the Sandpoint Ranger District to reduce the potential for human-wildlife conflicts. The food storage requirements described in the order are mandatory from April 1 to December 1 annually, and apply to all Idaho Panhandle National Forest lands north of the Clark Fork River, Lake Pend Oreille and the Pend Oreille River.

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 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 new order and to view specific locations of backcountry and frontcountry areas for each district, please view the following:

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

Photo of a grizzly bear








Approved Storage:

A bear resistant container is one that has been approved by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC). Please see their website at Additional information on bear resistant products, including pictures and links to commercial providers can be found in the IGBC's report on Certified Bear Resistant Products. 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 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


Illustration of how to suspend food from a tree limb 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:
Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, Bear-Resistant Equipment!ut/p/z0/04_Sj9CPykssy0xPLMnMz0vMAfIjo8zijQwgwNHCwN_DI8zPyBcqYKBfkO2oCABZcx5g/?position=Not%20Yet%20Determined.Html&pname=Idaho%20Panhandle%20National%20Forests-%20Outdoor%20Safety&ss=110104&navtype=BROWSEBYSUBJECT&pnavid=150000000000000&navid=150100000000000&ttype=detail&cid=stelprdb5305932