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New food storage requirements for Aspen-area campers
ASPEN — Car campers in the national forest of the upper Roaring Fork Valley will be required to take extra precautions with food storage because of the potential for conflicts with bears.
The Aspen-Sopris Ranger District is drafting a “food-storage order” that requires coolers and other food containers to be stowed in locked vehicles when not in use, according to Martha Moran, recreation staff supervisor at the district. The order also will require campers to use bear-proof food boxes when available in campgrounds. The food boxes are available at Difficult Campground. They also will be installed at Weller Campground, Moran said.
The food-storage order will be enacted as soon as possible, Moran said. The Forest Service must go through a specific procedure to take action.
The Forest Service also wants campers to dispose of garbage in bear-proof containers at campgrounds or temporarily store it in locked vehicles at night or when a camp is unattended. Cooking equipment should also be secured.
The fine for violating the food storage order is $100. A food service order has never been fully implemented before in the Aspen-Sopris Ranger District, according to Moran.
The food storage order will affect campers at Difficult, Weller, Lincoln Creek, Lost Man and Portal campgrounds as well as the dispersed sites along Lincoln Creek Road and along Castle Creek Road. Signs will be posted to alert campers about the order and campground hosts will inform them.
No campers, whether car-camping or backpacking, should store food in their tents. The Forest Service recommends specific guidelines to backpackers about proper storage of food. Those guidelines are available at the Aspen and Carbondale visitor centers.