There are new “food storage orders” on the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest, and that means forest users will face new citations for improper handling of animal attractants.
The two new orders issued late last month dictate that materials that could entice bears and other wildlife must be safely stored in the Crazy Mountains and the rest of the Belt Creek -White Sulphur Springs Ranger District, as well as the Helena, Judith-Musselshell and Townsend Ranger Districts.
Attractants include food and drinks - even if canned - along with trash, animal carcasses, personal hygiene products like toothpaste, and any other items that have distinct smells. The orders recommend that these items be stored in approved, bear-resistant containers.
The two new orders accompany a third order issued in April that covers the Flathead, Lolo, Lewis and Clark and Helena National Forests within the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem, or NCDE. The NCDE contains the largest population of grizzly bears in the lower 48.
According to the orders, violators can be fined up to $5,000, but no citations will be issued for the remainder of the year.