National Park Superintendents Have Authority To Allow Bear Spray
While federal regulations seemingly prohibit bear spray in national parks outside of Alaska, park superintendents have the authority to override that ban within their parks, according to officials at Grand Teton National Park.
"Superintendent's commonly further define and/or clarify park-specific rules and regulations that are applicable to their park unit through a legal instrument called the 'Superintendent's Compendium,' said Grand Teton spokeswoman. "The Superintendent's Compendium is the legal document that Grand Teton NP uses to address and define the appropriate possession, and use, of bear pepper spray.
"Use of bear pepper spray to defend oneself from a threatening wildlife encounter is legal in Grand Teton according to the current Superintendent's Compendium which states, 'Bear pepper spray may be carried by individuals within Grand Teton National Park for the strict purpose of protecting oneself or others from bodily harm against aggressive wildlife," she continued. "Bear pepper spray must be registered with the EPA and individual states. It must be commercially manufactured and labeled as "Bear Pepper Spray" and it must contain between 1% to 2% of the active ingredients capsaicin and related capsaicinoids.
"Furthermore, no person will be cited or contacted by park rangers if they are carrying --and if they ever need to deploy--bear pepper spray as a recommended use while traveling in the park's backcountry. Carrying bear pepper spray is not an illegal activity in Grand Teton National Park," said Ms. Skaggs.