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USFS Updates Food Rules For Grizzly Country

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  • Pat Morris
    http://www.missoulian.com/display/inn_news/z1.txt USFS updates food rules for grizzly country By the Associated Press HELENA - The U.S. Forest Service has
    Message 1 of 1 , May 1, 2001
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      http://www.missoulian.com/display/inn_news/z1.txt

      USFS updates food rules for grizzly country
      By the Associated Press
      HELENA - The U.S. Forest Service has updated rules governing the storage of
      food in grizzly bear country, hoping to reduce the number of human-bear
      encounters and bear deaths.
      Mike Munoz, ranger of the Lewis and Clark National Forest's Rocky Mountain
      Ranger District, said most of the changes are intended to clarify and
      strengthen enforcement of existing regulations. "We wanted to make sure
      that if someone challenged a violation in bear country that we would have a
      better chance" of winning, he said Monday. The order applies to the
      Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem - which includes private and public
      land on both sides of the Continental Divide from the Canadian border as
      far south as Lincoln. The ecosystem, which also includes Glacier National
      Park and the Bob Marshall Wilderness, is believed to be home to about 345
      grizzly bears.
      The revised order comes a year after wildlife officials expressed alarm by
      three straight years of double-digit grizzly deaths at the hands of people
      in northwestern Montana.
      The rules are intended to lessen the chances of bears getting access to
      human, pet or livestock feed, and the chances of humans and bears coming in
      contact with each other.
      Among other things, visitors to grizzly areas are required to store human,
      pet or livestock food and garbage in a bear-resistant container, or keep
      the food within 100 feet during daylight hours. The order also says that
      wildlife carcasses within one-half mile of any camp or sleeping area must
      be stored in a bear resistant manner during the night. It prohibits the
      burying or burning of garbage or food in open campfires.
      Anyone who violates the rules may face a $5,000 fine or six months in jail,
      while an organization could receive a $10,000 fine. The changes come a year
      after 20 grizzlies were killed in the ecosystem. In 1999, 17 were killed,
      and 19 were killed in 1998. The numbers are the highest since 1985, when 16
      grizzlies were killed in the 9,500 square-mile ecosystem.
      The Forest Service rents bear resistant containers to backcountry
      travelers, or will provide information on how to build one.



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