US Forest Service requiring bear-safe forest containers

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — The U.S. Forest Service has implemented a new rule designed to minimize encounters between black bears and people using the Green Mountain National Forest.

The rule, which was implemented Tuesday and publicized Wednesday, requires that food be stored in bear-proof containers, in vehicles or hung at least 12-feet (3.66-meters) off the ground and 6-feet (1.83-meters) horizontally from any object.

The message comes after Vermont game wardens had to kill two bears in recent weeks. One of the bears had entered an Underhill home. In the other case, a bear was bothering hikers along the Appalachian Trail in southern Vermont.

Meanwhile, Vermont’s top bear biologist Forrest Hammond says this summer’s nuisance bear problem is likely to ease as berries and other natural foods ripen in the state’s forests.

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