Wherever you camp, it’s a sure bet there are wild animals in the vicinity—and in much of California, that includes black bears. An estimated 30,000 bears roam the Sierra Nevada, and their presence should be a top-of-mind concern. Keeping a clean camp is the most important element of being bear aware.
Remember, secure food storage isn’t just for people food; it’s for dog food, too. A few crumbs of kibble left out in a bowl are enough to attract raccoons, squirrels, skunks, dive-bombing Steller’s jays—and bears. Bear-proof steel storage boxes have been installed at most developed campgrounds in the Sierra. If your site doesn’t have one, follow campground rules. The California Department of Fish and Game offers some solid-sense tips for camping in bear country. Among them:
• Dispose of trash in bear-proof garbage cans or keep it stored in a secure location with your food.
• Store food and toiletries in bear-proof containers or in airtight containers in the trunk of your vehicle.
• Clean dishes immediately after eating.
• Clean grills after each use.
• Don’t keep food or toiletries in your tent.
• Don’t sleep in the clothes you wore while cooking.