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[pct-l] Trip Report: Tuolumne Meadows to Kennedy Meadows [HWY 108]

September 10, 2001
Washington, D.C.

National Park Service chief, William Emanon, announced a new food storage
policy today for campers in national parks with large and agressive bear
populations.  Mr. Emanon repeatedly stressed that the new policy was based
on years of experience, extensive study, and "real science."  According to
Mr. Emanon, the park service has operated for decades on the assumption that
their job was to control "problem bears."  But a policy review that started
in January revealed that their actual goal should be to control "problem

The new policy emphasizes choice.  Visitors to the parks will be given a
choice of using bear boxes, storing food in "bear proof" cannisters, or
storing their food strapped to their bodies in a specially designed, bright
orange, backpack.  Mr. Emanon emphasized that bears in multiple, randomly
selected, study areas had been shown to avoid people wearing bright orange.
First time violators of the rules will be fined $500 and required to use the
new, "orangepack" storage system; second time violators will be fined $1000
and will be required to wear orange clothes as well as use the "orangepack;"
after the third violation offenders will be banned from the national park
system for ten years.

In a bit of unplanned excitement, a distraught park service employee burst
in on the press conference and started shouting.  He was quickly taken away.
The distraught man had been yelling something about "Darwin rewards" or
"Darling awards."  Mr. Emanon shook his head sadly, and said that some
employees were having difficulty adjusting to the new change in policy.
"You don't change a policy that's been in effect for decades without hurting
some feelings," Mr. Emanon said.

Several leading experts on bear behavior declined to be interviewed for this
article.  However, one expert, who asked not to be identified, chuckled and
said that the new policy would certainly "reduce the problem."

-- Jim

----- Original Message -----
From: <Slyatpct@aol.com>
To: <reynolds@ilan.com>; <cmkudija@earthlink.net>;
Sent: Monday, September 10, 2001 8:10 PM
Subject: Re: [pct-l] Trip Report: Tuolumne Meadows to Kennedy Meadows [HWY

> In a message dated 9/10/2001 4:50:37 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
> reynolds@ilan.com writes:
> > You know that I am pro requiring bear canisters.
> >
> > The problem with the NPS thinking that they can get away with not
> > with the order is that virtually every backpacker who has not lost food
> > bears believes that he/she can protect his/her food from bears also
> > the use of bear canisters.
> >
> Tom,
> One of the main differences is, while a thru-hiker is mobile, using a
> different site every nite, you generally camp for a week at a time in the
> same spot.  Using a cannister may be the wise and prudent choice for
> that chooses to remain idle, read, fish, cook, smell the roses and do site
> trips.  It certainly wouldn't be wise to leave your food in your tent for
> week, especially, if you weren't right there to let the bears know that
> YOUR food.
> For those that are leaving their cannisters open and letting the bears get
> their food anyway, that's creating another problem, where the bears that
> didn't bother with cannisters will be checking them out.
> Wouldn't it be ironic, if the next, new regulation stipulated that you had
> store your cannister in a tent.  : )
> Sly
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