Resorts & restaurants

Five black bears in and around dumpsters, looking for food.

Garbage and food odors can attract bears to resorts or restaurants. Unsecured trash bins, restaurant grease bins, fish entrails or other attractants can create problems for establishments and their patrons. By securing these attractants, owners reduce potential experiences with problem bears. If bears don’t get a food reward at your establishment, they’ll be more likely to seek out their natural foods. 


Tips for resort and rental cabin owners
  • Keep coolers inside a locked vehicle, hard-sided camper, or a secure container or structure that a bear cannot access and where it cannot see the cooler.
  • Keep cabin windows and doors locked when unattended.
  • Properly handle fish entrails and bones so they don't become an easy meal for a bear.
    • Provide one, centralized place for guests to process their catch. Fish cleaning facilities should be kept clean and have fish entrails and carcasses removed nightly. Having available fish-cleaning facilities also prevent guests from inadvertently attracting bears to their cabins.
    • Freeze fish entrails in a chest freezer and do not put them into the trash until the morning of trash collection.
    • Do not deposit fish entrails or fish parts into public waters, or onto lake or stream shores. This is prohibited in Minnesota.
Tips for restaurant owners
  • If you have outdoor dining, clean your patio, tables and chairs regularly to ensure food or food scents do not remain overnight. Remove any outdoor trash each night.
  • Properly manage grease bins. Grease bins are a high-calorie source for bears. A standard 55-gallon drum of restaurant grease contains 1.6 million calories. 
    • Secure grease bins in an area that is inaccessible to bears. If this is not an option, affix it to the ground (bolted to the cement) or secure to a nearby wall or post to prevent tipping by bears.
    • Grease bins should have lids that close tightly, and be locked with a padlock or other mechanism.
    • Frequently wash (with a power washer and a soap or grease-removing detergent) in situations where bears have repeatedly targeted the grease bin.
    • Additional grease bin information from BearSmart
General trash management tips
  • Use bear-resistant cans and dumpsters.
  • Work with your waste hauler to request a bear-resistant dumpster or to modify your dumpster to make it bear-resistant.
  • See a list of bear-resistant products approved by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Recovery Team.
  • View examples of bear-resistant dumpsters (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission).
  • Move cans, dumpsters and grease bins away from areas used by people. If allowed by your waste hauler, construct a shed to protect your dumpster.
  • Consider protecting your dumpster and other attractants with energized fencing with these instructions from Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission:
  • Rinse food containers before disposal or recycling.