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Bear Resistant Canisters

Many black bears, particularly those in the Adirondack High Peaks Wilderness, have become adept at obtaining food that is stored by back country campers. Bear resistant canisters are a highly effective means for preventing bears from obtaining food. When bears are unable to obtain food from back country campers, not only will campers have a more enjoyable back country experience, but the bears will return to looking for natural foods in the forest.

NYSDEC Regulation Requires The Use of Bear Resistant Canisters by Overnight Users in The Eastern High Peaks Wilderness Between April 1 And November 30. NYSDEC encourages campers to use bear resistant canisters throughout the Adirondack and Catskill backcountry.

Bear Resistant Canisters Facts

Bear resistant canister
  • Canisters are solid and non-pliable.
  • Canisters are usually made of a hard plastic, but metal or another material may also be used.
  • Non-rigid containers or sacks are not considered bear resistant canisters under the regulation.
  • Canisters weigh 3 to 5 pounds.
  • Canisters typically are 8 inches by 12 inches in size.
  • Canisters can hold up to 5 person days of food when properly packed.
  • Bear resistant canisters are available for purchase or rent from many local, national and web-based outdoor recreation stores.

Packing a Bear Resistant Canister

Bear resistant canister with food packages.
  • Pack all scented items (food, toiletries, and trash) in the canister.
  • Pack materials in sealed plastic bags or containers to reduce odors that will attract bears.
  • Choose foods that are compact, compressible and high in calories.
  • Do not take more food than you will need.

Using a Bear Resistant Canister

Bear Resistant Canister Attached to a Backpack
  • Ensure that the canister lid is secured.
  • Carry the canister in the backpack or strap it to the outside.
  • Nylon carrying cases are available for some canisters.
  • Place reflective tape on the canister to assist in locating the canister in the dark.
  • Label the canister with your name and contact information in case it is lost.

Storing a Bear Resistant Canister

Bear resistant canister stored on the ground.
  • Canisters should be stored at least 100 feet away from the campsite.
  • Wedge the canister between rocks, under logs or just lay it in a shallow depression.
  • Do NOT hang canisters, bears can still carry off your food.
  • Do NOT store canisters in carrying case, as bears will be able to carry it away.
  • Do NOT store canisters near water, canisters are not watertight and do not float.

Bear Resistant Canister Regulation

Subparagraph 190.13(f)(3)(xiv) of Title 6 of the New York Code, Rule and Regulation (6 NYCRR) (effected August 24, 2005) states that no person "during the period April 1 through November 30, no overnight camper in the Eastern High Peaks Zone shall fail to use bear-resistant canisters for the storage of all food, food containers, garbage, and toiletries."

6 NYCRR Paragraph 190.13(b)(2) defines a bear-resistant canister as "a commercially made container constructed of solid, non-pliable material manufactured for the specific purpose of resisting entry by bears."

6 NYCRR Paragraph 190.13(b)(6) defines an overnight camper as "a person who stays or intends to stay in the Eastern High Peaks Zone during the night."

6 NYCRR Paragraph 190.13(b)(4) defines the Eastern High Peaks Zone as "that portion of the High Peaks Wilderness Area located to the east of the ridge line immediately west of the Indian Pass Trail."

map of the High Peaks Region


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