Here There Be Bears

In 2005, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) made the use of bear resistant food canisters mandatory  in the Eastern High Peaks Zone of the Adirondack Wilderness. Between April 1 and November 30. All overnight campers in that particular area of the park (the most popular) have to use these cans or face a ticket and a hike back to their car. While not mandatory in other Park Zones the DEC encourages their use throughout the wilderness.

The can is designed to be of a shape and size that makes it impossible for the bear to grab it with his/her mouth or paws, and strong enough to keep the bear from cracking it open. Ideally, the most a bear should be able to do is roll the can around for a while till it figures out that it cant get to the food/odor and then (hopefully) moves along.

The guideline for use is to simply place the can on the ground about 100 feet from your campsite. Some folks believe that hanging the can from a tree in a bag will add extra insurance, but all that does is give the bear something to grab onto and carry away. While the can may never be opened, it would be little consolation if it was carried off never to be seen again.

The biggest drawback to this regulation is the size and weight of the can. Personally, the weight (while not ideal) is not a problem, but the space it takes up in the pack can be…especially if you are camping solo and don’t have another person to divvy up the load with.


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