Living with Wildlife

Living and recreating in Mammoth Lakes comes with responsibility.

California's wild animals are falling victim to unnecessary conflict and even death for a surprising reason -- increasing access to human food and garbage. The problem seems to get worse every year, as California's human population continues to grow and expand into wildlife habitat. This problem continues to exist because it is essentially a People Problem, not a Wildlife Problem.

The Town of Mammoth Lakes has many bear-proofed dumpsters, and we encourage you to always place your trash inside the bins and secure the trash bin by locking the bear-resistant latch.

While camping in the Eastern Sierra, please stash your food and trash as bears and other animals are attracted to anything edible or smelly.

We also recommend you follow these recommendations while recreating in bear country:

  • Keep a close watch on children, and teach them what to do if they encounter a bear.
  • While hiking, make noise to avoid a surprise encounter with a bear.
  • Never keep food in your tent.
  • Store food and toiletries in bear-proof containers or in an airtight container in the trunk of your vehicle.
  • Keep a clean camp by cleaning up and storing food and garbage immediately after meals.
  • Use bear-proof garbage cans whenever possible or store your garbage in a secure location with your food.
  • Never approach a bear or pick up a bear cub.
  • If you encounter a bear, do not run; instead, face the animal, make noise and try to appear as large as possible.
  • If attacked, fight back.
  • If a bear attacks a person, immediately call 911.  
  • When wild animals are allowed to feed on human food and garbage, they lose their natural ways -- often resulting in death for the animal. Please respect and protect wild animals. Keep them wild!

This information was provided by the California Department of Fish and Game. For additional information, please visit