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Wilderness Food Storage

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avatar Wilderness Food Storage
May 13, 2004 12:54PM
<HTML>Yosemite National Park News Release

May 10, 2004
For Immediate Release

Yosemite National Park Revises Wilderness Food Storage Regulations to Better Protect Bears, Wildlife

Yosemite National Park Superintendent Michael J. Tollefson announced today revised wilderness food storage regulations in an effort to reduce the number of incidents of bears obtaining food from backpackers in Yosemite&#8217;s backcountry. Yosemite&#8217;s Bear Council endorsed this recommendation by Chief Ranger Steve Shackelton.

Bears in more visited areas of the Yosemite Wilderness are adept at retrieving food that is hung using the counterbalance method. This is not an effective means to keep food from bears in Yosemite. In contrast, bear-resistant food containers, or &#8220;bear canisters,&#8221; have increased in popularity in recent years in part because of their near-total effectiveness and ease of use. They help the park accomplish its mission to conserve wildlife.

Incidents of bears obtaining human food occur in popular wilderness areas at higher rates than elsewhere in the Yosemite Wilderness. They may also serve as training grounds for bears that subsequently search for human food in other parts of the park, including front country areas.

The areas of the Yosemite Wilderness affected by the revised regulations are within seven linear miles of park roads. This includes the Wawona Road (Highway 41), the Big Oak Flat Road (Highway 120 West), the Tioga Road (Highway 120 East), the Glacier Point Road, the Hetch Hetchy Road, and the Lake Eleanor Road. Canisters are also required within one-half mile of the shoreline of Benson Lake and above 9,600 feet (above tree line). Yosemite National Park still strongly recommends backpackers use approved bear canisters throughout the wilderness.

A map delineating the new wilderness areas requiring bear canisters can be viewed at http://www.nps.gov/yose/wilderness/bfoodstorage.htm.

Within these areas, backpackers are required to store food items, items carrying food scents, and toiletries in bear canisters.

As America&#8217;s Wilderness Act celebrates its 40th birthday and Yosemite National Park&#8217;s designated Wilderness celebrates its 20th birthday, please take join us to help preserve wild places in Yosemite. Using bear canisters keeps wildlife wild and allows for a more natural wilderness experience.

National Park Service approved bear canisters are available for a minimal rental fee from wilderness centers, some concession outlets, and the Hetch Hetchy entrance.


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