Food Storage Order Reminder

There is a Forest Order in place for the entire Cherokee National Forest to minimize black bear-human encounters and interactions.  This emergency Order was issued to provide for visitor safety and the conservation of bears as Federal and State land managers have seen an increase in bear activity in developed areas.


The order prohibits: Possessing or leaving food, bear attractant, or refuse unless it is possessed properly or stored properly.    

The following definitions apply to the Food Storage Order:

“Food” means any substance, which is not native to the immediate area, solid or liquid (excluding water, baled hay, or hay cubes without additives), which is or may be eaten or otherwise taken into the body to sustain health or life, provide energy, or promote growth of any person or animal.

“Bear Attractant” means any substance having an odor that may attract bears including food, soft drinks, cooking grease, alcoholic beverages, canned foods, pet foods, processed livestock feed and grains, personal hygiene products, and empty food and beverage containers.

“Refuse” means any discarded material or solid waste.

“Possessed properly” means:

  1. Possessed or attended by a person(s) who is under immediate control of food, attractant or refuse. The person(s) must be physically present within 100 feet and in plain sight and have the ability to immediately attend to and store such items properly.

“Stored properly” means:

  1. Stored or disposed of in a bear-resistant container or trash receptacle which is a securable container constructed of solid non-pliable material capable of withstanding 200 foot-pounds of energy. When secured and under stress the container will not have any cracks, openings, or hinges that would allow a bear to gain entry by biting or pulling with its claws. Wood containers are not considered bear resistant unless they are reinforced with metal. Most coolers are not considered bear resistant, or
  2. Stored in a closed hard top motor vehicle or travel trailer constructed of solid, non-pliable material that, when secured, will have no openings, hinges, lids, or coverings that would
  3. allow a bear to gain entry by breaking, bending, tearing, biting, or pulling with its claws (any windows in the vehicle must be closed), or
  4. Suspended at least 10 feet off the ground and 4 feet from limbs, or
  5. Stored within a hard-sided residence, building, or storage container subject to the terms and conditions of a special-use authorization or operating plan, or
  6. Stored by other methods approved in a permit issued by the Forest Supervisor.



Forest Service

Cherokee National Forest

2800 Ocoee Street N.

Cleveland, TN 37312