Credit to: DNR

Tips on how to bear-proof your campsite for Labor Day

The Labor Day weekend is an excellent time to squeeze in an end-of-summer camping trip before kids head back to school and the bustling fall begins.

“While packing for your trip, consider adding a few items to make sure your campsite doesn’t accidently attract bears or other curious wildlife,” said Rachel Leightner, wildlife outreach coordinator for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division.

Here are a few items to add to your campsite to prevent critters from crashing your weekend:

  • Airtight containers and storage bags – Food and toiletries should NEVER be kept in tents. Store food and toiletries in airtight containers in a vehicle trunk or suspend food from trees in burlap or plastic bags or backpacks.
  • Rope – Hang containers or storage bags 12 feet above ground, 10 feet from the tree trunk and 5 feet from the nearest branch.
  • Cleaning supplies – Wipe away any food debris on eating utensils or spills on camp chairs and tables.
  • Trash bags – Store trash as you would food. Burning or burying waste attracts bears.

“Wildlife may wander through your campsite. But if food is prepared and stored properly and utensils and spills are cleaned, they should continue through,” said Leightner.

Never intentionally feed a bear or other wildlife. It’s in the best interest of both people and wildlife to not come in contact. For more tips on preventing encounters with wildlife while camping, visit

Note to editors: An accompanying photo is available below for download. Caption information follows.

  • Bear_campsite: Airtight containers and storage bags, cleaning supplies and trash bags can help keep your campsite tidy and minimize encounters with wildlife.