Sponsor a Bear Box

Sponsor a Bear Box

Why this work matters

Preventing bears from obtaining human food is one of the top priorities of Yellowstone’s wildlife managers. Bears that gain access to human food eventually become more aggressive towards humans, and may need to be removed from the population.

Installing bear-proof food storage boxes in Yellowstone’s roadside campgrounds improves visitor safety and prevents bears from accessing human food. With the help of generous supporters, Yellowstone Forever has already funded the installation of more than 850 bear boxes in the park.

What needs to be done

So far, more than 850 bear-proof storage boxes are available in campgrounds throughout the park, thanks in part to the generosity of Yellowstone Forever supporters. But that covers only 46% of the total number of campsites in the park. There are more than 1,000 campsites without bear-proof storage boxes.

When it comes to how Yellowstone National Park handles bear management, a lot has changed since visitors first began pouring in more than a century ago. At that time, bears were known to feed on garbage behind park hotels, and tourists eagerly fed them along park roadways—resulting in an average of 48 bear-inflicted human injuries each year from 1931 to 1969.

In 1970, park officials implemented a new bear management program to restore bears to a diet of natural foods. The program includes regulations that prohibit visitors from feeding bears and the installation of garbage cans designed to be bear-proof. The results were overwhelmingly positive: Human injuries dropped dramatically, as did the need to euthanize bears posing a threat to visitors.

Despite this success, human-bear encounters are still a reality, and keeping bears from accessing human food remains a top priority. Preventing bears from obtaining human foods is the foundation of Yellowstone National Park’s Grizzly Bear Conservation Program today.

A ranger checks a bear box for proper food storage. NPS/Jacob Frank

How to sponsor a bear-proof storage box

Yellowstone Forever offers the unique opportunity for you to help the park by sponsoring a bear-proof storage box . Gifts of any amount toward this important effort are greatly needed and sincerely appreciated.

Option 1: Donate to the overall campaign

Any gift you make, no matter the size, makes a huge impact in ensuring safety for the visitors and the bears who call Yellowstone home. With a gift of $35 or more you will receive all of the great benefits of being a Yellowstone Forever supporter. Plus, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you are playing a direct role in protecting Yellowstone’s magnificent bears. Donate here.

Option 2: Sponsor the installation of an entire bear-proof storage box

For each $1,500 in donations, Yellowstone will install a bear-proof storage box in a park campground. Contributors of a full $1,500 Bear Box Sponsorship will receive their name, or group’s name, engraved on a 4″ x 6″ plate that is permanently affixed to a bear-proof storage box in a Yellowstone campground. Sponsor an entire bear-proof storage box here. If you have questions about sponsoring a bear-proof storage box, please contact Marisa Griffith at mgriffith@yellowstone.org.

Option 3: Host a fundraiser to sponsor a bear-proof storage box

A great way to rally your community to help protect Yellowstone’s bears is to start a Facebook Fundraiser. These are easy to set up, and simple to maintain! Choose Yellowstone Forever as your nonprofit, sett your goal for $1,500, and use the information on this page to educate your Facebook friends on the importance of having a bear-proof storage box at each Yellowstone campsite. Start your fundraiser here. If you have questions about starting a fundraiser please contact Erin Fitzgerald at efitzgerald@yellowstone.org.

From a biologist:

The most successful method to prevent bears from becoming conditioned to human foods has been to provide park visitors with bear-proof food storage boxes that are convenient and easy to use. The park’s ultimate goal is to have a bear box in every campsite in every campground. — Yellowstone Bear Biologist Kerry Gunther