Avoiding black bears in the Porkies


Week of June 12-18, 1997
Honeymoon on the beaches of Fiji
Father/son canoe-camping in Canada
Avoiding black bears in the Porkies
Biking Moab in the August heat
Learning to surf Hawaiian-style

Avoiding black bears in the Porkies
Question: I will be backpacking in the Porcupine Mountains for eight days, and I was wondering if I should have any worries about bears, and if so what precautions I should take. I’m asking because a restaurant — notorious for feeding bears — has recently closed. It was located just miles outside the park. What should I do?

Clint Kane
Traverse City, MI

Adventure Adviser: No worries. According to the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park headquarters, there are no out-of-the-ordinary bear problems this season. Konteka, the restaurant you mentioned, closed because it went out of business. The bears that were used to being fed by the Konteka have since ravaged a few garbage cans and bird
feeders in White Pine, but no campers have reported dangerous encounters.

Generally, black bears are not dangerous. They want your food pack more than they want you. You need to take necessary precautions such as hanging your food pack in a tree, and keeping everything scented, like deodorant, toothpaste, shampoo, etc., in the tree with the food. Bears tend to get a little rambunctious in the early season because the berries that they normally
eat, such as raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, etc., haven’t blossomed yet. Call the headquarters for further reassurance at 906-885-5275.

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