Pack Out What You Pack In—Or You're Contributing to the Bear Problem

Bob Jonas, Co-Chair, CNJ Trails Committee
Bob Jonas, Co-Chair, CNJ Trails Committee

You must have seen reports and notices of the increasing hiker encounters with black bears on our trail systems. The experts tell us this is the result of human's inability to handle their garbage in an effective manner, by utilizing bear-proof containers when garbage is left unattended at the curbside. The feeding of these mammals for the shear joy of their personal entertainment is also a big factor.

Once the bears start associating humans with a food source, they become a nuisance bear that often ends up as a dead bear when repeat offenders have to be trapped and euthanized.

However, you as hikers may also be contributing to this problem by leaving uneaten food, apple cores, banana skins and such along the trail. You must bring out, what you bring in!

Although the bears rarely show aggressive tendencies, they are opportunists and have a great sense of smell, many times greater than ours. And in their quest for eatables, they can be very brazen and get much too close, expecting the usual human reaction of yelling, arm waving and then abandoning their lunch. These bears are not big dumb animals, and are quick learners.

If you as hikers love the outdoors and want to protect and enjoy nature's wild inhabitants, think before contributing to the problem.