If you do something to attract a bear with sloppy food management, you may face a fine, as there’s the chance Yellowstone National Park officials could cite you for improper food storage.
Every year we see the same stories: someone doesn’t store food properly in a Yellowstone campground and attracts a bear or two. (It’s happened recently in Yellowstone.) That same practice is repeated, and pretty soon the bear becomes used to heading to a campground for a free meal. The bear is then acclimated to people and eventually put down as a nuisance. No one — visitors, rangers, Park regulars — wants to see that happen.
So the word is out to properly store food outside of meals.
“We’re very aggressive on our food storage issues,” said Yellowstone spokesman Al Nash. “We’re going to be in every campground, every night, and we’re going to be monitoring the situation.”
Nash said the park’s goal remains education over punishment. In 2010, he said, rangers issued 126 citations for “camping violations.” Speeding remains the park’s leading offense.
“We really feel our focus on the prevention has been very successful over the years,” Nash said. “That’s one of the many ways we’ve been able to minimize bear-human conflicts.”
If you go, you will be warned upon entering the Park about the dangers of feeding bears, on purpose or not.