Project goal: Replace dozens of outdated bear-resistant food storage lockers at southwestern Yosemite campsites.

Why this work matters: Proper food storage is a crucial part of keeping Yosemite’s hundreds of black bears wild. Leaving food easily accessible in campgrounds, parking lots and other developed areas can lure hungry bears for an easy meal, ultimately causing the animals to lose their fear of people. Keeping food and scented items out of reach helps ensure bears can stick to a wild diet and natural behaviors — and steer clear of humans.

Since bear-resistant lockers first arrived in Yosemite more than 40 years ago, they’ve become a cornerstone of a successful wildlife-management program that has helped reduce property damage and other bear-related incidents in the park from a high of 1,584 in 1998 to just 21 in 2019.

Our donors helped fund the initial installation of thousands of bear-resistant lockers throughout Yosemite. In recent years, the park has replaced the decades-old boxes with upgraded models that can store more items more securely. This grant focused on replacing lockers at campgrounds in southwestern Yosemite.

How your support helped: Your gifts funded the purchase and installation of 61 new bear-resistant lockers for campgrounds in Wawona, improving the food-storage hardware available to campers and ensuring the continued success of Yosemite’s efforts to keep bears wild. The new lockers comply with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards, have double the capacity of the older versions to accommodate larger coolers, and are rodent-proof.

Project partner: Yosemite National Park.

Caitlin Lee-Roney

Wildlife Biologist, Yosemite National Park

Project Notes

"Bear-resistant food-storage lockers are the cornerstone of Yosemite's Human-Bear Management Program and have protected countless bears. Along with bear-proof trash receptacles and a revamped management program, they were instrumental in bringing incidents down from a high of 1,584 in 1998 to a low of 24 in 2018."