From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 3, Number 10 - June 5, 2003
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Food storage order may take effect next month

by Cat Urbigkit

Although Shoshone National Forest Supervisor Becky Aus reportedly announced last week that the expanded food-storage order will go into effect in both the Shoshone and Bridger-Teton national forests effective July 1, Bridger-Teton spokesman Jay Anderson said that's not necessarily the case.

"That's not what we're planning," Anderson said. "We're not going to commit to that."

Anderson said no firm date has been set, and added that the Forest Service has meetings with community members in Sublette County scheduled for mid-June to discussion the latest version of the food storage order.

The purpose of the meetings is to discuss the proposal and get feedback, Anderson said.

Anderson added that the federal agency is planning for mid-July implementation, but said plans can go awry and there is still a lot of work to do.

"What I can say is yes it's going to happen," Anderson said, "but it's still a proposal at this time."

Federal officials are proposing to expand the food-storage order to encompass all national forest lands throughout the Wind River Mountain range, and the Bridger-Teton's entire western portion, south to Alpine.

The stated purpose of the order is to minimize adverse interactions between bears and humans. The order is slated to be in effect from March 1 through Dec. 1 annually and addresses possessing, storing and transporting food, refuse, animals and animal parts, as well as camping.

When Forest Service officials announced their intention of expanding the food storage order last year, public reaction was sharply opposed to the proposal.

Since that time, Anderson said, federal personnel have been working to change the order to address public concerns.

Among other provisions, the proposal requires that an unattended big game carcass be at least 200 yards from a national forest system trail and prohibits knowingly camping within a half-mile of an animal carcass.

The order requires that all food, refuse and harvested animal carcasses must be "acceptably stored or acceptably possessed." The order also states, "Camping or sleeping areas must be established at least one-half mile from a known animal carcass or at least 100 yards from an acceptably stored animal carcass."

Exemptions to the order include "persons with a permit issued by the Forest Supervisor specifically exempting them," those placing black bear baits for hunts, and federal and state wildlife officials placing baits for research or management purposes.

The page-and-a-half order includes an exhibit consisting of a page-and-a-half of definitions.

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