A partnership of the National Park Service and the United States Forest Service.

Where are Bear Canisters Required?

While camping in the Sierra, proper bear-proof food storage is highly recommended, and in some places required by law. Sierra land managers are unified in their desire to protect black bears from the ill effects of obtaining human food, but specific regulations vary between different parks and forests.

At many campgrounds and trailheads in the Sierra there are large, stationary bear-proof food storage lockers available for your use. There are external links in the sidebar to help you find bear-proof locker locations.

Portable bear canisters are the best way to protect Sierra black bears in the wilderness when camping away from bear lockers. This map shows where canisters are legally required.

This map was last updated in 2017. Always check directly with the land manager before your trip to confirm food storage requirements and find out about recent bear activity in the area.

Benefits of using a canister:

Convenience: Set up camp without the need to search for that perfect and often elusive tree from which to hang your food.

Freedom: Camp away from the bear lockers and crowds, or even above tree-line!

Fun insurance: No aborted trips because critters ate your food.

Multi-tool: It can make a useful camp stool, table, or bucket (depending on the model).Try to think of more uses!

Better sleep: It doesn’t make a good pillow, but you can rest and relax without worrying if your food is really safe up in that tree.

Safety: Avoid getting stranded in the backcountry with no food.

Karma: This is the single most effective thing you can do as a wilderness visitor to protect bears.