in the San Gorgonio Wilderness
There have been a number of
bear-human confrontations in the San Gorgonio Wilderness. The following information is
designed to help the visitor protect both person and property from the creatures of the
Bears are usually more afraid of people than people are of
bears. Bears are mainly herbivores, eating berries and other vegetation, while not passing
on the opportunity for meat-items left by campers. They have a large range and move
quickly through the mountains. People and bears normally avoid each other. One of the few
catalysts for people and bears to interact is climatic.
Southern California has been undergoing a
period of drought. This climatic condition has caused deer, bear, and other animals to
move to lower elevations in search of food. Sometimes, this search for food has placed
animals and humans in confrontational situations. In many cases, this competition and
confrontation has disturbed the balance of solitude sought and desired by these animals.
Hungry bears will walk through camps and go
through packs and food bags. They will rip and tear at scented items not easily offering
up their contents. When bears become accustomed to obtaining food from backpackers,
they learn to approach people and camps continually. Such bears often end up dead
because of the carelessness of campers.
To avoid loss of property and
physical danger, the SGWA now
only advocates the use of bear-proof canisters to store food.
purchasing or renting (see below) bear-proof canisters, such as those made by Garcia
Machine. The Garcia canister weighs only 2.7
pounds and also makes a great camp seat. The retail price through the SGWA is
only $67.50 (it is selling for over $75 at most stores). All SGWA contributing
members receive a 20% discount on this price!! To purchase
your canister, please visit our Back Country stores at the Mill Creek Ranger
Station or the Barton Flats Visitor Center.
6, 2002, the SGWA in partnership with the US Forest Service,
San Bernardino National Forest will be offering bear backpacking
canisters for rent at the Mill Creek Ranger Station starting at
$10 for 1-3 nights. We believe this will make it a little easier
for everyone wanting to help protect the bears by properly storing
food while out on the trail. Please contact the Mill Creek Ranger
Station for more details (909) 794.1123
To learn more about the American
Black Bear (Ursus americanus), visit
The Bear Den or
Bear Lore for
bear avoidance materials.