Bear canisters a better way to outsmart crafty bruins
Increasing incidents of black bears getting into campers' food supplies in the backcountry have officials urging backpackers to use special care when storing their foodstuffs and smelly toiletries before retiring for the night.
And, thanks to a new White Mountain National Forest initiative, the price can't be beat: Under a new pilot program, backpackers can borrow the canisters for free from the White Mountain Visitor Center on the Kancamagus Highway in North Woodstock, the national forest visitor center at Lincoln Woods on the Kancamagus Highway in Lincoln, and national forest headquarters in Campton.
Improper food storage leads to increased encounters between bears and humans as the critters enter campsites in search of food. National forest campers not properly storing food or toiletries, or not properly disposing of trash, can face stiff fines up to $5,000.
As noted above, campers should never store food or toiletries in their tents.
The White Mountain National Forest and New Hampshire Fish and Game Department are good sources of additional information on avoiding bear encounters. Check their respective websites at fs.usda.gov/whitemountain and wildnh.com.
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