Oh Those Pesky Black Bears

I guess we aren’t the only part of the Superior National Forest that is experiencing friendly and frequent black bear visitors. The bear population must be at an all time high because many people are reporting seeing them either on their drive up the Gunflint Trail or in the Boundary Waters. Surprisingly we haven’t heard of any bear problems with people out camping in the BWCA. They have been spotted at Forest Service Campgrounds and of course at Voyageur.

While Elsa and I have scoured the woods for blueberries the most common form we found them in were in piles of bear scat. There are piles literally everywhere. Could they be part of the cause of the poor blueberry season? I think so.

In any case, bears are abundant and I’m glad they are just black bears who are more like raccoons than bears. Be sure to check out the link for some of the bear products at the end of their release.


August 20, 2015   Duluth, MN   Superior National Forest managers urge the public to learn and practice Bear Aware principles for the protection of both people and bears. There are several things that people can do to reduce the potential for unwanted bear encounters like the recent instances that have been reported across the Forest.

Especially when camping, ALL food, cooking equipment, and garbage should be stored out of reach of bears or in a certified bear-resistant container. Be aware that bears may also find the smell of toothpaste, lipstick, scented personal hygiene products, sunscreen, clothing with food odor, etc. attractive. A bear can even smell a candy bar wrapper inside a tent. A clean campsite is much less likely to catch the attention of bears in the area. Here are some important points:

Once a meal is concluded, the cooking equipment should be washed immediately and away from the sleeping area. Toiletries, food and garbage should be placed in a bear-resistant container, out of view in a hard-sided vehicle or hung out of reach by hanging the food pack from a high line between two trees. The bag should be located at least twelve feet above ground and at least six feet from the trees on either side.
Don’t count on a cooler to protect your food. Coolers are not bear-resistant containers. Bears can smell bottled beverages and food in plastic coolers. Once a bear is rewarded with food or something sweet in one cooler or tent, it learns to bite and tear into other tents and coolers.
Dispose of fish remains by traveling well away from campsites, trails, portages and shorelines.
Avoid leaving food unguarded at the end of a portage. If it is not in a bear-resistant container, it is an easy target and can teach a bear to frequent the portage.

Residents in bear country also should be bear aware. Keep pet food secured in the house and remove bird feeders at night and store garbage in a building or in trash containers that cannot be opened by bears. Once a bear learns that human food is easily accessible, the bear will elevate its efforts to get it; putting people and bears at risk.

To learn more about safe living and camping or hiking in bear country, check out: http://www.bebearaware.org/

Specifics regarding certified bear-resistant products is available at:

Leave a Reply