Forest Service seeks public comment on bear-proof locker order at Tahoe campgrounds

Published: Friday, Feb. 28, 2014 - 1:18 pm

The U.S. Forest Service’s Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit is seeking input on its proposal to require proper food and refuse storage at developed recreation sites on national forest lands at the lake.

The proposal is in response to a rise in human-bear encounters in the area, some of which have resulted in property damage and the issuance of depredation permits by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife to remove “problem” bears.

If approved, a forest order would be issued requiring the use of dumpsters and food lockers that are locked to animal entry when available at Forest Service campgrounds, resorts, beaches, day-use areas and trailheads, and at privately run campgrounds on national forest land.

Violation of the order could result in a fine of up to $5,000 for an individual and up to $10,000 for an organization, imprisonment of up to six months, or both, according to Stephanie Coppeto, the unit’s wildlife biologist.

Similar orders already exist in nearby California State Parks and Tahoe National Forest campgrounds.

Written comments must be received by 4:30 p.m. March 14 on the initial proposal to prepare an environmental assessment and draft decision notice. A 30-day comment period will follow their preparation.

Only those who provide written comments during opportunities for public comment will be eligible to file an objection. Comments may be mailed, faxed, emailed or hand-delivered.

For more information on the proposal and how to comment, visit or contact Coppeto at (530) 543-2679 or

Read more articles by Barbara Barte Osborn

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