Be Bear Aware — U.S. Forest Service Implements Food Storage Policy

To prevent bears and other wildlife from becoming problems at popular recreation areas in the Ocala, Osceola and Apalachicola National Forests, the U.S. Forest Service recently implemented a forest-wide Food Storage policy requiring proper storage and disposal of food, garbage and other attractants.

(Video courtesy of mtozier)

“Public safety is a high priority for the U.S. Forest Service,” said Carl Petrick, U.S Forest Service Ecosystems Staff Officer. “Black bears are one of the natural inhabitants in our National Forests in Florida, and visitors need to be informed of how to properly store and dispose of food and attractants that have the ability to entice bears.”

The policy, which took effect June 30, requires all forest visitors to properly store, possess or secure food, garbage and other attractants so that they are not easily accessible to wildlife. Attractants include anything having an odor that may attract bears, such as food, beverages, cooking grease, toothpaste, toiletries, soap, game meat, pet food, livestock feed or garbage. (Read more at

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