The Idaho Panhandle National Forest recently put into place a new Food Storage Order of the Priest Lake, Sandpoint and Bonners Ferry Ranger Districts. This Forest Service Order will deal with human food and pet food, garbage and bird seed, deer carcasses, fish entrails and anything else that might lure wildlife into trouble especially bears. This has been done to reduce conflicts and potential conflict between wildlife and humans. The Colville National Forest, which also manages lands within this ecosystem, has had a similar food storage order in place since 1987 when its forest plan was revised. The new food storage requirements are intended to be permanent, effective each year from April 1 through Dec. 1. The rules applying to the “front country,” such as around Priest Lake, have been encouraged for years. They include keeping food in a vehicle or hard-sided shelter when not being consumed at meals. The new rules specifically prohibit feeding wildlife and putting up bird feeders – liquid, suet or seed – in certain areas. Bear-resistant garbage containers will be required in designated areas and camp food and leftovers, such as bacon grease, must be hauled out and not buried on site. Within most other grizzly bear ecosystems, the National Forests and Parks have had similar rules for years. The conditions of the Idaho Panhandle National Forests new food storage order only pertain to activities on national forest system lands within this ecosystem.
For more information on this Food Storage Order visit the Idaho Panhandle National Forests website.