Bear-proof gear will be required at Needles District of Canyonlands


Jan 17, 2012

Backcountry campers in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park will be required to use bear-resistant containers starting May 1.

National Park Service officials report an increase in the number of black bear sightings and indications that the animals are in the Salt Creek watershed in recent years.

Starting in May, all overnight backcountry permit holders in the Upper Salt and Salt Horse backcountry zones will need to store food, beverages, food containers, garbage and other scented items at least 100 feet from camp in a hard-sided, bear-resistant container approved by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee. There are no grizzly bears in Utah, only black bears.

Park officials also report numerous cases of aggressive squirrels and raccoons damaging gear while trying to get to food.

"The behavior of these animals indicates that they have become habituated to human food that has not been adequately secured," said a release from Canyonlands. "The intent of the new bear-resistant container policy is to prevent wildlife access to human food, and to ultimately help protect visitors and wildlife from harm."

Figures...I'm backpacking Salt Creek on May 1st with Dave and Jared...

Something else I need to pickup before May...
Crappy. Thanks for the heads up.
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Anybody wade thru the link and find the approved list.........couldn't see one. Guess that's one more area I cross off now going to.
I couldn't scroll past 3 pages on the first link. Figured they'd use something the same but I didn't want to spend the time wading thru the bull..... Thanks.
Nice catch, Intrepid.

Yes, they add a couple of pounds to be carried, but in real bear country it's a pretty convenient piece of gear. Saves bears, too.

Never thought the Needles would fall in that category.
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Its a bummer the Ursack isn't an approved item. I like the concept of those. The lack of rigidity so that it does not take up a definite amount of space in the backpack it so appealing. Plus they have a shell that you can use to make it rigid just in case.
That surprises me too. Kinda funny that you need that in the Needles, but it isn't required in grizzly filled Glacier Nat'l Park. I guess it's a little harder to find a place tall enough to hang food in the desert though. Still. And those aggressive squirrels, gotta make sure you protect the visitors from them. :D
We took them on a trip through their last spring, though they were only recommended not required. I would think the provided canisters are fine at the designated campsites but when you get to Angel arch you are in the open camping zone and they do not provide them there, and you are still in bear active country so that is probably why they are requiring them. We saw no bears and only a little sign in the spring. I think they are more active in the fall from what I have read.
We didn't get any pics, but they were quite active in late Spring 2011 (end of May) when I was there. Heard quite a few crash through the bushes as we approached and plenty of tracks and scat. I'm also really curious if the hard canister requirement is only for the at-large camping zone. It's hard to imagine them not allowing the bear boxes to be used anymore but the verbiage of the press release seems to be quite specific about it being the upper canyon and the at-large zone:

Starting in May, all overnight backcountry permit holders in the Upper Salt and Salt Horse backcountry zones will need to store...
I just got back from Salt Creek last night. I have a canister so I didn't inquire about rentals. It was my first trip using the bear canister since I bought it. They're heavy mofos. The ammo cans are still at SC1 and SC3. I still don't see why you can't just hang your food in the Salt/Horse Zone, but we did follow the rules. We saw fresh bear scat twice during the trip, but didn't have any face to face encounters.
Thanks for the updates ladies! (@pixie1339 and @Miss Buffalo )

I'm too cheap to buy one (or two). Maybe I'll call and see if they have them available to rent. (I sort of doubt it since I'm not seeing anything when I search for information).

Oh, @pixie1339 , I noticed an NPS alert that says: The Salt Creek / Horse Canyon 4WD Road in the Needles are currently impassable.
Apparently that didn't / doesn't affect getting into Salt Creek?
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