State Parks

Bear Safe Camping in State Parks

Following these simple safe camping tips will allow you to take full advantage of the great outdoors and will keep everyone safe in our beautiful state parks!

Chantal Mercer
2 minute read

Bear Safe Camping

Brown bear mother and cub on rocks in trees, highlighting camping safety in state parks

Black bears inhabit every state and province in North America. There are an estimated 700,000 to 1,000,000 black bears living in North America. You would think that with those kinds of numbers your chances of seeing bears on your next camping trip are high, but in actuality, most people don’t encounter bears while camping. Whether or not you have seen a bear on your RV camping trip or not there are some important rules you should follow while camping to keep you and the bears safe. I say “you and the bears” because many bears that become accustomed to people are killed, as once a bear sees people as a source of food they will continue to seek out people making them dangerous.

While Hiking

While hiking make sure you make noise so that you do not surprise a bear. As long as bears hear you coming they will most likely get out of your way to avoid you. If you are hiking in groups you can talk or sing. While hiking alone you can buy bells that will jingle while you walk. If you see a bear, always give it space. Do not try to get in close for a picture. If you can take another trail or just back up and wait for the bear to move on. Always hike with Fido on a leash. You may think that your barking dog will chase off a bear but many dogs will run at a bear nip at it and then come running back to its owner with an angry bear in chase.

While Camping

Whether you are camping in a tent or camping in an RV there are a few things you will need to remember. First, always keep your campsite clean. Pick up all garbage, wash all dishes, and put away all food. Food should be securely stored away in a bear-proof container away from your sleeping area. If you are camping in a tent do not store food in your tent. Food can be stored in the trunk of your car if available. If you have hiked in you need to store your food off the ground away from your tent. You can buy a bear bag specifically for this purpose, but any bag and rope will do. You will want to hang your food and garbage at least 13 feet off the ground and 7 feet away from any nearby branches.

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