Author Topic: Trans Am Rockies Camping - Bears?  (Read 4050 times)

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Offline mattdwyerva

Trans Am Rockies Camping - Bears?
« on: December 08, 2023, 12:10:43 pm »
Are bear canisters used/required/wise for the TA in the Rockies?   I would guess that Yellowstone is the most likely problem area, but not sure.  Seems like most CG are very near paved roads on the TA, but not sure if that has proven to be adequate to discourage bears.  I know some CG provide storage spaces.

So, basically, should anyone riding the TA usually bring canister for these sections if they intend to use campgrounds?  I don't think hanging food is normal anymore, although I have done that. 

Thanks,
Matt

Offline staehpj1

Re: Trans Am Rockies Camping - Bears?
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2023, 01:01:41 pm »
The parks that have canister requirements had bear lockers so no canister requirement.  We did manage without taking our canister, but we hung food in some places.

Offline jamawani

Re: Trans Am Rockies Camping - Bears?
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2023, 02:28:58 pm »
Bear country stretches all the way from Pueblo, Colorado to the Pacific.
There are fewer bears in the dry zones of Wyoming and Oregon, but still some.

Make sure you know safe bear country camping.
https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd541459.pdf

Also, never, NEVER eat in your tent.
Not in Montana, not in New Jersey, not in your back yard.
Not only can bears smell it, but raccoons and hungry critters.

Yellowstone NP has excellent bear boxes at hiked/biker campsites.
So does Grand Teton NP, but some forest service campgrounds may not.
Have climbing rope and carabiners - and know how to hang food & toiletries.

The only grizzly country is Greater Yellowstone.
Black bears are less aggressive, but can trash your tent and gear fast.
Not only that, but then they must be euthanized.
So, just don't let it happen.

Offline mattdwyerva

Re: Trans Am Rockies Camping - Bears?
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2023, 03:08:42 pm »
Yes, thanks.  grizzlytimes.org is an interesting site also, although maybe not up to date. 

My question is whether people bring canisters on the TransAm route.  Any thoughts?  Sounds like you hang food still as a tactic, where allowed by the park in question? 

Shen. NP allows hanging food, but I chatted with ranger there this summer who bemoaned the practice.   Lots of hikers on the AT and nearby trails and (black) bears are struggling. 

Offline staehpj1

Re: Trans Am Rockies Camping - Bears?
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2023, 04:29:39 pm »
My question is whether people bring canisters on the TransAm route.  Any thoughts?  Sounds like you hang food still as a tactic, where allowed by the park in question?
I did the route in 2007, but I would think my experience still applies.  I ran across only one guy that was carrying a canister.

We hung food and other scented stuff only where the risk seemed to require it.  So a lot of the time food wasn't hung.  You can tell a lot by the type and condition of the trash recepticles.  Also ask camp hosts or rangers if there are problems.  At times raccoons and other critters may be an issue so bears are not the only problem.

All in all we didn't have much trouble.  We were careless and lost some food to racoons in a spot where there were poles specifically designed for hanging food from.  Somehow we missed them and lost some food.  We had a crow get into a handlebar bag abd get some jerky and had mice run the line food was hung from and chew into some causing minor loss.  Overall we had very little trouble on that of any other tours.

Offline mattdwyerva

Re: Trans Am Rockies Camping - Bears?
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2023, 04:44:45 pm »
Thanks, staehpj1.  Sounds good. 

I had raccoons steal a lot of food one night on a canoe trip way, way up the Allagash waterway in the distant past.    The only reason we had some left is they got into a fight over it and woke us up... so yeah, they can be a problem. 

Offline John Nelson

Re: Trans Am Rockies Camping - Bears?
« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2023, 05:56:22 pm »
I didn’t meet anyone carrying a bear canister on the TransAm. Most campgrounds where bears are a problem have bear boxes. And yes, people do hang food when not in a campground that has boxes.

Eat well away from your tent. I would sometimes stop a couple of miles before the campground to eat, and then ride on to the campground. If necessary, hang your food well away from your tent too. It’s almost impossible to do it perfectly, but do the best you can.

There are many good articles on the Bearmuda Triangle on the web.

If there are rangers or campground hosts around, ask them about recent bear activity.

Offline mattdwyerva

Re: Trans Am Rockies Camping - Bears?
« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2023, 07:48:40 pm »
Thanks John, sounds reasonable

Offline DonKahn1

Re: Trans Am Rockies Camping - Bears?
« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2023, 06:10:43 am »
https://ursack.com/?gad_source=1
I used one of these on my last two cross country tours, which included time in Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, etc.  All the campgrounds I stayed at in Yellowstone, and some surrounding FS campgrounds had bear boxes.  They state these are "bear resistant", so maybe not as good as a canister, but they are relatively light and fit in a pannier easily.  Where they really shine is in more urban type campgrounds where raccoons are a problem.  I had several nights where I could hear raccoons trying to get into the bag to no avail!

Offline mattdwyerva

Re: Trans Am Rockies Camping - Bears?
« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2023, 08:08:02 am »
Don, good to hear it worked for you.  Reviews on REI are not very positive, but I am considering it

Offline staehpj1

Re: Trans Am Rockies Camping - Bears?
« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2023, 08:45:25 am »
I remember much better reviews years ago.  I wonder if the product has gone downhill?  From what I have read, I'd definitely use the scent proof bags (opsak) with it if I did buy one.

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Trans Am Rockies Camping - Bears?
« Reply #11 on: December 12, 2023, 02:00:36 pm »
I did the TA from Missoula to Fairplay, CO (east of Breckenridge) before hopping onto the Great Pars South to Cortez, CO.  I have done parts of the TA in MT a few other times.
Never once have I seen anyone with a canister or hanging food.  As noted, the NPs have food storage lockers.  Use them or you could get in trouble with not only critters but park employees.  A foolish cyclist did not at Jenny Lake in Teton even though there had been a young bear seen around camp.  He left his site to try to get a cell signal.  Guess who got into the guy's garbage then stuck his head in guy's tent and sniffed the cycling clothes drying on a clothesline before two women chased him away by banging pots and pans together. Campground host was not happy.

USFS campgrounds also had food storage lockers. Baker's Hole near W. Yellowstone, MT and Spring Gulch near Sula, MT come to mind.

When I stay in places that don't have lockers and bears might be a concern, I often try to store attractants in restrooms.

Offline mattdwyerva

Re: Trans Am Rockies Camping - Bears?
« Reply #12 on: December 12, 2023, 02:45:02 pm »
 Great info, thanks

Offline Shmogger

Re: Trans Am Rockies Camping - Bears?
« Reply #13 on: February 23, 2024, 08:27:59 pm »
In terms of taking attractants inside your tent, can't you just put them in plastic bags?  Freezer bags, for instance, or garbage bags? I'm thinking about things like toiletries, sunscreen, insect repellant, trash; NOT food.   

Offline mattdwyerva

Re: Trans Am Rockies Camping - Bears?
« Reply #14 on: February 23, 2024, 09:00:59 pm »
In terms of taking attractants inside your tent, can't you just put them in plastic bags? 

From what I've read, that will not work as plastic bags are too thin.   Most of us can't keep the outside of ziplocks perfectly clean either.

Annoying to hang or canister everything, I realize.