Bears have become more active around the Long Trail System in the last few years. As of July 24, 2019, hikers are required to use a bear box, bear can, or hang all their food/refuse/etc 12′ from the ground and 6′ from the tree and branch, and carry out all trash, on Green Mountain National Forest Land. The Long Trail and its side trails from Massachusetts to Route 17 (Appalachian Gap) are mostly on GMNF land. GMC recommends using these food storage methods on the entire trail. Find more information about the GMNF’s food storage order here.
It is the responsibility of hikers to preferably use a food storage canister or bag approved by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC).
Hangs are permitted but discouraged as an alternative to an approved product: hang, being at least 12’ off the ground and not less than 6’ feet from any object.
Where food storage infrastructure is available it can be used as an alternative to these methods.
Please also follow a few basic steps:
- Keep dogs leashed.
- Do not feed or approach bears.
- If you encounter a bear, make noise and back away slowly. Do not run.
- Pack out all garbage/food scraps.
- If primitive camping, prepare food and store food canister or hang bear-bags at least 100ft from the campsite.
- If staying at a designated overnight site, follow all food-storage procedures. If a bear box is provided, store all food and trash in the bear box.
- BEAR BOXES: There are now bear boxes at some LT/AT overnight sites. Please store all food, garbage, and scented items in the boxes when available. Remove all items when you leave and do not leave trash in the boxes. Please cook and eat at designated picnic tables, NOT in shelter/tenting area. Overnight sites with bear boxes are:
- Seth Warner Shelter
- Goddard Shelter
- Kid Gore Shelter
- Story Spring Shelter
- Stratton Pond Shelter
- Peru Peak Shelter
- Griffith Lake Tenting Area
- Tucker Johnson Shelter
- Stony Brook Shelter (AT)
- Montclair Glen Lodge
- Bamforth Ridge Shelter
- Hump Brook Tenting Area
- Report any bear encounters to the GMC.
- Find more information about bears on the Long Trail on our blog.
Moose tracks and droppings can be seen throughout the trail. While moose look similar to deer, they can be extremely dangerous when irritated. If you see a moose on the trail, do not approach it. Wait for the moose to move on before continuing. They are particularly territorial in the fall during mating season. Their eyesight is very bad so the recommended strategy if a moose charges you is to try to put a large tree between you and the moose, remove your pack, and make human noises.
Peregrines have been making a strong comeback in Vermont. They nest in many locations on or near the Long Trail, such as Smugglers’ Notch and Mount Horrid. Falcons are easily disturbed by hikers above their cliffside nests, so during the nesting season, from mid-March to mid-August, hikers may encounter closed portions of the Long Trail or side trails. Please help by staying away from those areas until the young falcons have fledged.
Rabies is present in Vermont. Hang food, carry out food waste and trash, refrain from feeding animals, and stay away from any wild animal that is acting strangely. Leave dead animals alone. If you are bitten, wash your wound well with soap and water and seek medical help immediately.
A great resource for the curious hiker is GMC’s Nature Guide to Vermont’s Long Trail. It introduces readers to the natural communities of the Long Trail and then journeys the length of the trail to point out its fascinating natural features, as well as the plants and animals encountered along the way.