Forest ranger: No tolerance for lax food storage during eclipse

Aug 11, 2017 By Daniel Bendtsen, Staff Writer

Poor food storage in the Loop Road area seems to be as bad as ever this year, local forest ranger Steve Schacht said recently.

The issue is becoming an increasing problem as bears continue to migrate south down the Wind River Range.

Schacht, who works in the Washakie District of the Shoshone National Forest, said he knows of at least two black bears in the area that needed to be killed this year after they got access to a visitor's food.

There's little else that can be done once a bear first gets a taste of human food, Schacht said.

"If you've got a habituated bear, they don't care how many people are there -- it's just more food," he said.

On July 4, he said at least 100 coolers around the Loop Road area were left unattended when campers flocked into Lander for holiday festivities.

If something similar happens during the eclipse, Schacht said the Forest Service will confiscate any coolers that aren't bear-proof. He said his crews will post horse trailers at each of the district's four main entrances where they will store confiscated food and coolers.

Schacht said the Forest Service will go into "full enforcement" mode in 2018, with plans to write citations for violations of food storage orders.

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