Officials To Decide On Bear-Proof Plan In Aspen Wilderness

The U.S. Forest Service is considering a proposal that would require backpackers to use bear-resistant food and garbage containers in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness over the next five years.

The Aspen Times reports that Aspen-Sopris District Ranger Karen Schroyer says approving the five-year special order would eliminate the need to pass emergency orders yearly and could prevent conflicts between bears and humans, which have increased in recent years.

The special order is being considered for the Gunnison National Forest and the White River National Forest, which has approved emergency orders the last two summers.

A report by Lead Wilderness Ranger Andrew Larson shows that between 2010 and 2013 there were only a handful of bear incident reports. But incidents jumped to 23 in 2014 and 41 this past summer.