GYC installs bear bins in Idaho campground

As grizzly bears continue to thrive across the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, Greater Yellowstone Coalition works toward solutions to keep bears alive and people safe. This includes bear-proofing campgrounds throughout Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho.

Idaho Conservation Coordinator Kathy Rinaldi (2nd from right), Wildlife Program Coordinator Chris Colligan (far right), and two Forest Service employees with a recently installed food storage container at a campground near Palisades, Idaho. (Photo GYC.)

Idaho Conservation Coordinator Kathy Rinaldi (2nd from right), Wildlife Program Coordinator Chris Colligan (far right), and two Forest Service employees with a recently installed food storage container at a campground near Palisades, Idaho. (Photo GYC.)

When my kids were young, one of our favorite places to camp was the Warm River Campground in Ashton, Idaho. Warm River is a small campground (11 sites) situated on the slow-moving Warm River, a tributary of the Henry’s Fork, that provides excellent opportunities for tubing, fishing, and hiking. Parents would hang out while the kids would shuttle up and down the river on their tubes. Good family fun!

Like all campgrounds in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest, Warm River is located in occupied grizzly bear habitat. Last summer, the Forest Service contacted GYC to see if we would partner with the Targhee Women’s Club in Island Park to purchase two additional bear resistant containers for the group site at Warm River. Because there was a lack of accessible bear resistant trash containers, visitors to the group site were leaving their trash out, making easy pickings for a hungry bear. Bears are smart and when they get an easy food reward, it almost always end badly, with either people getting hurt or bears being euthanized. We all know the saying, “A fed bear is a dead bear.”

The Warm River Campground is one of the most popular campgrounds on the Ashton-Island Park District of the Caribou-Targhee National Forest. Dissimilar from the other campgrounds on the district, it is frequented by locals from the southeast Idaho community. The addition of the bear-resistant garbage cans in the Warm River Campground group site helps ensure public safety and grizzly bear conservation,” stated Sabrina Derusseau, Dubois/Ashton/Island Park Wildlife Biologist for the Caribou-Targhee National Forest.

Three grizzly bears on a kill in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. (Photo Tom Murphy.)

Three grizzly bears on a kill in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. (Photo Tom Murphy.)

GYC, together with the Targhee Women’s Club, successfully purchased two additional bear resistant containers from Bear Guardian in Rexburg, ID for the Warm River Campground and will be installed later this year. Learn more about our campaign to keep bears alive and people safe.

—Kathy Rinaldi, Idaho Conservation Coordinator