Visitors reminded to secure food, be bear aware in Rogue River Wild and Scenic Area


Wednesday, July 17, 2019


CENTRAL POINT, Ore – The Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest (RRSNF), USDA Wildlife Services, and ODFW remind Rogue River Wild and Scenic Area users to keep clean campsites and secure garbage. The agencies are hearing reports of nuisance bears getting into boats and coolers.


Bears enjoy an easily obtained meal, and their keen sense of smell will lead them to any food in your campsite. The area has a high population of black bears so visitors must secure food, storage containers, and garbage.


The RRSNF and ODFW work collaboratively to provide bear proof fencing and food hoists at many campsites along the river in this area. Keep a clean camp by following these guidelines:


  • If electrified fenced areas or food hoists are provided, use them to store coolers and food storage containers. Do not store these items on boats.
  • Pick up food scraps and store garbage overnight in a bear-resistant dry box, canister, or cooler or hang items at least 12 feet off the ground between two trees and six feet from tree trunks.
  • Remove food smells from tables, utensils, and coolers with alcohol or ammonia.
  • Strap coolers and dry boxes together and stack empty pans or cans on top to be alerted if a bear tries to raid your food.


“People should ‘Be Bear Aware” and remember black bears are wild animals that can behave unpredictably if habituated to human food and quickly become a human safety problem,” said Steve Niemela, ODFW Rogue District Wildlife Biologist. “Having to euthanize a bear due to poor human behavior is not a fun part of our job, but a fed bear is a dead bear. The RRSNF does a great job educating boaters on this issue, and we appreciate their collaboration.”


Boater group leaders are required to watch a video and get a pamphlet about living safely with bears when they come to the Rainie Falls entry point. Hikers can review this information online before heading out.


Bear aware tips (or see ODFW bear sighting sign):


  • When hiking in bear country, make noise, keep children close and carry pepper spray.
  • If you encounter a bear, keep your distance. If you see bear cubs, leave the area.
  • Stay calm, face the bear, and slowly back away. Avoid eye contact.
  • Don’t run.
  • Give the bear space and a way to escape.
  • In the unlikely event you are attacked, fight back, shout, be aggressive, use rocks, sticks and hands.
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