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Educating, Then Motivating Travelers & Visitors

The job of educating the recreating public is never done. The cast of characters is constantly changing. Often when people leave home, their brains go on vacation too. Finding ways to communicate that get through to people is a never-ending challenge.

With hundreds of professionals contributing to Living with Bears Handbook, it's a tool you can use and recommend with confidence.

NEW: Bear Smart Pocket Guides

Three tri-fold pocket guides filled with handy tips and smart advice are a companion to the Living With Bears Handbook. Guides are sold individually or in sets. Learn More


Food-Conditioned Bears

With more than nine million visitors each year, Great Smoky Mountains is America’s most-visited National Park. The park is such great bear habitat is has one of the highest bear densities in North America. Tons of food and garbage and a culture where watching the bears at the picnic grounds was the evening’s entertainment created chronic problems for bears. Great Smoky Mountains slowly changed everything from the hours the maintenance crew works to fire pits, trail shelters and food storage options to protocols for dealing with food-conditioned bears, and today the park’s visitors and the parks bears are for the most part peacefully coexisting. When there are problems, they’re used to educate and motivate change.

“Managing bears would be easy. All you’d have to do is keep out all the people.”

Bill Stiver, Supervisory Biologist, Great Smoky Mountains National Park
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"I love the fast sound-bite style that concisely captures some complex issues. It is an excellent book. I'm recommending it be carried at all our visitor centers and other national forests that have bears."

Carrie Sekerak, Wildlife Biologist, Ocala National Forest – Florida

Recommended Reading

"As a volunteer at America's busiest National Park, I wish every visitor and employee was required to read this book. It really helps everyone better understand their responsibilities when living in or visiting bear country."

Warren Bielenberg

The Book At-A-Glance

  • Understanding bears and bear behavior
  • Managing bear jams
  • Ensuring the safety of people and bears
  • Reducing garbage problems
  • Bear management tactics and options
  • Practical examples and proven tactics from parks all over North America
  • Safe hiking and recreating
  • Camping, backpacking and fishing
  • Proper food storage and site selection
  • Guidelines for frontcountry campers
  • Bear deterrents
  • Bear smart viewing and photography
  • Driving bear aware

Put the Book to Work

  • Use in staff training
  • Use as a reference tool for people who deal with the public
  • Give copies to volunteers
  • Give to campground operators, hosts
  • Recommend to visitor center gift shops and bookstores
  • Provide to PIOs for reference