On July 14, 2022, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) announced the adoption of a new policy recommending all overnight Appalachian Trail (A.T.) visitors carry a bear-resistant food storage container as a vital part of their backpacking gear. This policy comes after a multi-year increase in human-bear encounters at A.T. campsites, many of which were the result of improper food storage by visitors or black bears’ successful circumvention of traditional food storage techniques.
Black bears have become increasingly adept at defeating traditional food hangs. By using a bear-resistant container, hikers are minimizing their chances of a negative bear encounter on the Trail and helping prevent more bears from becoming habituated to humans as a source of food. In this policy, the ATC promotes the use of food storage containers approved by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, which have been shown to have a high success rate in preventing all species of bears from easily accessing hiker food supplies. Overnight visitors on the A.T. are also encouraged to use any permanent food storage methods available at campsites and shelters, such as cable systems, metal poles with arms and bearproof metal boxes. By carrying a personal food storage container, A.T. visitors will be prepared should these more permanent systems be unavailable, full or damaged.
For more information, see the article on the ATC web site: ATC Recommends A.T. Visitors Carry Bear-Resistant Food Storage Containers | Appalachian Trail Conservancy