Food Storage Violations May Force Euthanization of Black Bear(s)

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Date: August 1, 2014

Grand Teton National Park biologists and park managers implore ALL visitors to be more vigilant and responsible about food storage at all park locations, especially at the popular beach areas along String Lake and Jenny Lake, as well as Jackson Lake near the Signal Mountain and Colter Bay campgrounds. Many visitors—including a number of local residents—have neglected to safeguard coolers, day packs and/or tote bags from the reach of bears that are actively roaming these lakeshore areas.

Grand Teton National Park requires all visitors to follow food storage regulations to protect both humans and bears. Picnickers and people enjoying water sports around String Lake and other lakeshore beaches have repeatedly ignored park regulations and neglected to secure food items in either bear boxes and/or vehicles whenever these items are not within arm's reach.

Because of careless people, at least one bear has received multiple human-food rewards at String Lake during the past week. This bear is now subject to management action, such as relocation or euthanization.

An ice chest or picnic cooler is NOT bear resistant. Any bear searching for natural foods can easily gain access to unattended coolers or day packs, especially when these items are left unattended—even for just a couple of minutes.Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee approved bear resistant coolers are available for purchase and MUST be padlocked or bolted closed to be considered bear resistant. For more information, please visit

Unfortunately, the failure to secure human food items and other bear attractants often leads to the death of a bear. Earlier this summer, a black bear was euthanized after exhibiting nuisance behavior in the Jenny Lake and String Lake areas. The need for euthanization is often preventable, but only with responsible actions by park visitors—locals and out-of-state visitors alike. All excuses aside, a fed bear is often a dead bear, and only appropriate food storage can prevent such an undesirable outcome.

If compliance with food storage regulations does not improve, park rangers will need to take stronger actions, including confiscation of food items and other bear attractants that are unsecured, as well as citations with fines. A ban on possession of food items at lakeshore locations may also become necessary to protect bears.

In 2008, several bear boxes were installed along the eastshore of String Lake to provide convenient and secure storage for food items and other bear attractants. These bear boxes were purchased and installed thanks to generous donations made to the Grand Teton National Park Foundation as part of a campaign aimed at providing bear resistant food storage lockers in all front country campgrounds and other high use areas. For anyone interested in contributing to the worthy campaign, please visit online at

Grand Teton National Park Superintendent David Vela strongly urges visitors to follow park rules that are designed to protect both humans and bears, and to responsibly maintain proper food security so that bears will not become a nuisance and run the risk of an adverse management action.

Last updated: February 24, 2015

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