Georgia to Virginia – Food Storage Order – National Forest Land




The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) has implemented a new food storage order for its Southern Region, which covers most of the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) from Georgia to Shenandoah National Park. The order covers the A.T. in the following national forests:

  • Georgia – Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest (please note that hikers are still required to use a hard-sided bear canister if camping between Jarrard Gap and Neel Gap on the A.T. in Georgia between March 1 and June 1 each year)
  • North Carolina – Nantahala National Forest and Pisgah National Forest
  • Tennessee – Cherokee National Forest
  • Virginia – George Washington & Jefferson National Forests

The order requires the following:

  • A.T. visitors must store food, refuse, and scented items properly. This means storing those items in solid, non-pliable bear-resistant canisters, in USFS-provided food storage devices like lockers, cables, poles, etc., or properly hanging your food.
    • Note: the ATC strongly recommends bear canisters as the surest and most flexible way to store your food along the entire Trail.
  • A.T. visitors must store bear canisters at least 70 adult paces (about 200 feet) from campsites.
  • If used, soft-sided food bags like Ursacks or stuff sacks must be hung at least 70 adult paces (about 200 feet) from campsites. Food must be hung a minimum of 6 feet from the tree trunk, 6 feet below the branch, and 12 feet from the ground to the bottom of the food bag.
  • Storing food in tents and shelters is NOT permitted.

To read the order, visit the USFS website.

Food storage requirements are also in place in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Shenandoah National Park, Green Mountain National Forest, White Mountain National Forest, and other A.T. lands. Know before you go. For more information, contact us.