Naturally, food is a strong attractant. While rodents or squirrels are little more than nuisances, larger animals such as bears can cause all sorts of problems. The key is to keep food away from them, said Dan Shirley, co-owner of Sawbill Canoe Outfitters in Tofte, Minn. How? If campers have a vehicle and leave their campsite, they should put all food in the vehicle — and cover it up so it’s not visible. “In years when bears are active, they will try to break into cars if they can see food inside,” he said. Backcountry campers should pack their food in a dedicated pack — Shirley uses a Duluth Pack, which can be lined with a trash bag to keep the contents dry — and hang it at least 100 feet from their campsite. Parachute cord works. Best if the food bag is at least 10 feet off the ground and 6 feet away from a tree, Shirley said.

Joe Albert