Backcountry camping

Avoidance ║  Encounters ║  Deterrents ║  Camping ║  Identification ║  Reporting 

Minimize bear encounters in camp by managing your food, garbage and associated odours. Follow the recommended ‘safety triangle’ when setting up your campsite in the backcountry (see diagram below).

Bear-proof your food! Store all food and other attractants (e.g., toiletries, cooking equipment, dishes etc.) in bear-resistant food containers, or suspend them between two trees (a minimum of 4 m off the ground, and 1 m from tree trunks). Avoid smelly foods – use dried or prepackaged food instead. Plan meals carefully to reduce leftovers.

Keep your sleeping gear and tent free of food odours. Never cook in or near the tent as lingering food odours can attract bears. Store your toiletries and the clothing you cooked in with your food in air-tight bags or containers. Keep tent pads clean and free of food and garbage. If possible, cook at least 50 m (approximately half a football field) downwind from your sleeping area.

Dispose of wastewater from cooking or doing dishes in a well-drained area downslope from your campsite and 50 m away from freshwater. Strain your dishwater and burn the particles or store them with your garbage.

Dispose of fish remains in a fast-moving stream or in the deep part of a lake; never along stream sides or on lake shores. Please note – different protocols are in place outside the National Park Reserve.

Pack all garbage back out of wilderness areas. Do not bury garbage as bears can easily locate and dig it out! If food scraps are burnt, pack out all unburned portions. While in camp, store garbage in a bear-resistant container (see Bear-Resistant Food Storage below).

Use a flashlight at night. Using a flashlight may help to reduce the likelihood of surprising a bear and/or warn curious wildlife away.

Select an appropriate campsite. Avoid camping near berry patches, animal/walking trails, and loud waterbodies. Camp in open areas or near large, sparsely branched trees that can be climbed, if necessary. If signs of bears are present, choose another area to camp.

 

The recommended ‘safety triangle’ for setting up backcountry campsites to minimize encounters with bears.

Bear-resistant food storage

Proper food storage is one of the best ways to prevent conflicts with bears.

Bears are opportunists. They are always on the lookout for "easy" calories. If a bear gets into human food or garbage, it learns to associate easy calories with people and then it will continue to seek out sources of human foods (e.g., backpacks, tents, coolers). Food-conditioned bears often lose their natural wariness of people and develop unpredictable, bold and aggressive behaviours.

Unfortunately, there is little that can be done to change the behaviour of bears that have learned to associate people with food. Such bears often pay for our mistakes with their lives. However, these situations can be easily prevented by properly storing all food, garbage and other bear attractants. Certified bear-resistant canisters are strongly recommended for all overnight trips in Thaidene Nene National Park Reserve.

A list of certified bear-resistant products can be found at the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee website.

Avoidance ║  Encounters ║  Deterrents ║  Camping ║  Identification ║  Reporting