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Re: [pct-l] bear manners

Sequoia/Kings National Park Ranger Birgitte Jensen wrote:

>perhaps the main issue in
>deciding how to handle edibles in bear country should be an examination
>of what the Bear Problem means  - and how to avoid making it worse. 
>    There is a sure solution to this mess.
>Bear canisters, properly used, seem to work now. 

I agree with you that the food should be kept away from the bears. I disagree that mandatory use of bear canisters is the right way to go.

It appears to me that the majority of the problems exist at heavily used camp sites. Bears have learned that they can regularly get food there, so they tend to settle in once the backpacking season starts. I think that the installation of bear boxes in camp sites where they don't exist would be a great step toward solving the problem. 

I do not understand why all the bear boxes in Inyo NF have been removed.

>An excuse ("canisters
>are heavy/$$$" "there wasn't a good tree" "I was too tired to walk
>out/guard the food" "I only left it for a minute") is INexcuseable.

Sounds like you have heard one too many excuses from the "idiot fraction" of the camping population. No matter what rules/regulations you impose the idiot fraction will still be idiots

>All living things learn by reinforcement; bears
>continue to seek out human food because they are often rewarded in their

True. Perhaps a good alternative is to provide negative reinforcement, like the town of Mammoth is doing around their dump. Bears leave skunks alone. Perhaps a program of using pepper spray on habituated bears would provide enough negative reinforcement to make the bears leave humans alone. I have some Grizzly Spray I got in Montana - if it bothers a Griz, it should bother a California bear. (yes I know that harassing bears is currently illegal - and I know that a highly trained wilderness manager would never want the ignorant public doing something like this).

A program of systematic harassment is a lot better than killing the bears. I stay out of my local mountains the first two weeks of deer season so I don't really want bear hunting instituted in Inyo, but that might solve the problem too (or just drive the bears west into SEKI.)

>     bj,       who doesn't want to have to have HER Freedom curtailed (in
>the form of more fees/restrictions, requirements to lug a bear canister
>on every backpack, scars from bear claws/teeth, etc) to protect somebody
>else's Right To Be Ignorant (or a slob)(or an "outlaw'), grrrrrrrrr.

Come on Ranger Jensen! You are the one enforcing the rules, not one having her freedoms curtailed. I think that the membership of this list is probably experienced enough to keep their food away from the bears. Keep trying to educate the idiot fraction of the weekender population.

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