Bear Safety

AMC’s Shelters Department loves that so many people want to experience the wilderness, recreate outdoors, and embrace travel by foot. Last year, we recorded more than 18,000 campers who visited one of nine staffed AMC campsites in the White Mountain National Forest over a five-month period alone. However, we can’t ignore the negative effects of…

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  Seeing animals in the wild is thrilling. Whether you’ve spotted a common merganser hen swimming with her ducklings trailing behind, a five-lined skink basking on a rock, or—if you’re lucky—an ambling moose in the woods, you know that the encounter is a rarity. Experts encourage tracking for its own sake—even if the animal itself…

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Bears aren’t the only threat to your food in the backcountry. Mice, squirrels, and other small critters are also known to ransack camper food supplies, especially in and around trail shelters. To protect your food, you can hang it on one of the ubiquitous “mouse mobiles” that hang in shelters (typically a threaded can on…

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They’re out there in the Northeast: black bears. Lots of them, including in popular outdoor destinations like the White Mountains of New Hampshire, where an uptick of bear activity has led to multiple campground closures and posted trail warnings over the past few years. Thing is, it’s not the bears that are the problem—it’s the…

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Hanging your food is a classic bearproofing technique, though it can be difficult to do correctly. Food must be suspended at least 10 feet off the ground and 4 feet from the trunk or nearest weight-bearing branch. To accomplish this, you’ll need 50 to 100 feet of cord and two stuff sacks for your food….

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Terri Werning’s biggest fear while hiking isn’t elevation, bears, or losing the trail. It’s men. Werning, 47, who has completed several sections of the Appalachian Trail (AT) over the past four years, says that were she to be attacked by a man while hiking in a remote area, she easily could be overpowered. It’s why,…

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How essential is it to put your food in bear boxes even if there aren’t any bears in the area? While bears can be a major concern, they’re not the only wild animals that pose a risk. We see it all too often. Campers arrive after a long slog overs hills and rivers to finally reach home. In an effort…

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The writer and naturalist Henry David Thoreau famously mourned how tame the wilderness of his day had become. On his rambles in mid-19th century Massachusetts, he saw no cougar, wolf, bear, moose, deer, beaver, or turkey. These and other animals had been displaced or killed outright, their forested habitats transformed into active farmland. Now, as…

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The black bear population is exploding in New England, particularly in Vermont and Massachusetts. As a recent article in the Boston Globe recounts, the number of bears in Vermont has doubled over the past two decades, to an estimated 6,000. In Massachusetts, the population is nine times larger today than 30 years ago (an estimated…

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The only interesting fact that I recall from high school physics is that black bears can run up to 30 mph. My teacher, an avid outdoorsman, included this detail in one of many stories told to engage a senior class focused on nothing but graduation. I’ve since learned that the American black bear, which averages…

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