Archived Outdoors

Bear boxes replacing cables at some A.T. shelters

Volunteers use the Zebmobile to haul a bear box through fresh show. David Huff photo Volunteers use the Zebmobile to haul a bear box through fresh show. David Huff photo

Trekking through fresh snowfall on the Appalachian Trail, Carolina Mountain Club volunteers and U.S. Forest Service staff installed a new bear box at Little Laurel Shelter — part of a larger CMC initiative to replace traditional bear cables with boxes at each of the 10 A.T. shelters the club maintains. 

Weighing in at more than 300 pounds, these robust boxes are designed to prevent bears from accessing hikers’ food, reducing the likelihood of bear-human interactions and promoting a safer coexistence. The boxes are installed at least 100 yards from shelters, further diminishing the connection between food and humans in the bears’ minds.

Installing these hefty boxes requires a coordinated effort from numerous volunteers who navigate remote and sometimes rugged terrain to transport and install them. A key component of installation success has been the use of the Zebmobile, a device designed specifically for hauling heavy bear boxes. The Georgia Appalachian Trail Club loaned it to CMC, and the device has been invaluable in transporting these bulky items. Individual donor Sal Puleo was instrumental in making the project possible, funding the purchase of nine out of the 10 bear boxes being deployed.

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