New Year, New Bear Can Reg

Learn about new USDA Forest Service bear canister regulations for Lake Tahoe Basin and the top bear canisters for your Tahoe Rim Trail adventure.

New Year, New Bear Can Reg

New Bear Canister Requirement Enforced by USDA Forest Service for Tahoe Rim Trail Hikers

For those gearing up to explore the Tahoe Rim Trail, especially the segment that forms part of the iconic American Discovery Trail - California Segment 9, a new regulation by the USDA Forest Service is impacting hiking around the lake.

Tahoe Rim Trail marker - Photo by Bernie Krausse

Our thanks to Mike "ILikeMike" Crowley '19 for the heads-up!

Not affiliated with nor authorized by the American Discovery Trail Society®

USDA Forest Service's New Regulation: Mandatory Bear Canisters in Lake Tahoe Basin

The Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, under the USDA Forest Service, has implemented a new order. Starting January 1, 2024, and lasting until December 31, 2029, this order requires all hikers to use bear-resistant canisters for storing food and trash.

Key Aspects of the Forest Order:

  • Mandatory Use of Bear Canisters: For the protection of wildlife and hikers, bear-resistant containers are now required.
  • Effective Period: Mark your calendars - this regulation is active from January 1, 2024, through December 31, 2029. (the next FIVE years)
  • Consequences of Non-Compliance: Be aware that failing to follow this rule could lead to significant fines or imprisonment.

The Importance of Bear Canisters for Safety

Bear canisters are not just about adhering to rules; they play a vital role in reducing human-bear encounters. By securely storing our food and refuse, we contribute to the safety of both hikers and bears in these natural habitats.

For years now, the Forest Service has been warning against the use of bear hangs on the Tahoe Rim Trail as bears in this region repeatedly figure them out.

Best Bear Canisters for Hikers - Top Picks

Here's a list of the most recommended and popular bear canisters among the hiking community:

  1. BearVault BV500: This canister is a favorite for its durability, user-friendly design, and ample space, making it perfect for extended adventures. It allows you to view the contents without opening it. It holds enough food for seven days.
  2. Garcia Backpackers' Cache: A tried-and-true option known for its tough build and effective locking mechanism. A bit on the heavier side, but your food's security is practically guaranteed.
  3. Lighter1 Big Daddy: Innovative with its dual-purpose lid that doubles as a cooking pan, this canister is both practical and lightweight.
  4. Wild Ideas Bearikade Weekender: Popular for its lightweight yet solid construction.
  5. Frontiersman INSIDER Bear Safe: An excellent choice for those seeking a balance between cost and safety.
  6. UDAP NO-FED-Bear Canister: Ideal for short hikes, this canister is recognized for its user-friendly and effective odor-resistant design. This lightweight option doesn't compromise on strength.

Adapting to the New Norm

This new rule may mean some adjustments to your hiking plans, but it's a positive stride towards responsible and safe hiking – and maintaining a harmonious balance between our adventurous pursuits and the natural world.

Hike Your Hike - John.

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