The area in Lassen Volcanic National Park closed to backcountry camping due to black bears obtaining food has expanded. The area east of Lassen National Park Highway, along State Highway 89, Hat Creek, and Kings Creek is closed to overnight backpacking use, but does not impact day use, including hiking and stock use or camping within developed campgrounds.
“We have received additional reports of human-bear interactions from outside the original closure area,” said Lassen Volcanic Superintendent Jim Richardson. “It is necessary to expand the area of the closure in an effort to prevent more negative interactions.”
Lassen Volcanic is home to a population of approximately 30 black bears. There are no brown or grizzly bears in the park. As information about black bears in the park is provided in large part by wildlife sighting reports submitted by visitors, Richardson asks park visitors to please report wildlife sightings, especially any threatening behavior, to a park employee or by emailing email@example.com.
He said all visitors can protect themselves and park wildlife by being bear aware. When hiking in the park make noise to avoid surprising a bear, never leave your pack unattended, and be particularly alert for bear activity when near streams or vegetation. If you come upon a bear, walk away slowly―never run or drop your pack. More information about bear safety is available at go.nps.gov/bearaware.
Backpackers camping in other areas of the park are required to store all food and scented items in an approved, bear-resistant storage container. Canisters are available for rent at the Loomis Museum or Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center during business hours. Backpackers can view a list of approved containers certified by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee or learn more about backpacking regulations at go.nps.gov/lavo/backpacking.
Alternative destinations for backpacking include trails in the Southwest and Manzanita Lake areas; and in the surrounding Lassen National Forest and nearby Shasta-Trinity and Plumas National Forests.
Additional information and a map of the closure area are available at go.nps.gov/lavo/regulations.