Date: March 14, 2014 Contact: Kevin Moore, 435-719-2120
The National Park Service (NPS) has announced that beginning May 1, 2014 all overnight backcountry permit holders for Upper Salt and Salt-Horse backcountry zones in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park will be required to store food and beverages, food and beverage containers, garbage, and all other scented items at least 100 feet from camp in a hard-sided, bear-resistant container.
Containers must be approved by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee. A list of approved models can be found here.
Black bears wander into the park from nearby mountains as they forage for food and water, often over long distances. Some bears are naturally more aggressive than others, but bears that obtain and become habituated to human food can be very dangerous.
In recent years, there has been an increase in the frequency of black bear sightings and signs (including tracks and scat) in the Salt Creek watershed. Other negative wildlife-visitor interactions in the Needles backcountry have involved repeated instances of rock squirrels and raccoons aggressively damaging visitors' gear in efforts to gain access to food. The behavior of these animals indicates that they have become habituated to human food that has not been adequately secured. The intent of the new bear-resistant container policy is to prevent wildlife access to human food, and to ultimately help protect visitors and wildlife from harm.
Park officials encourage all visitors traveling through the region's backcountry to plan ahead in order to ensure they can properly secure all items that may attract bears and other wildlife.
Did You Know?
Desert bighorn sheep live year-round in Canyonlands. These animals make their home along the rivers, negotiating the steep, rocky talus slopes with ease. Once in danger of becoming extinct, desert bighorns are making a tentative comeback thanks to the healthy herds in Canyonlands. More...