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Re: food, bears and policy Curry Village

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avatar food, bears and policy Curry Village
September 13, 2008 03:25PM
After suffering the standard lecture on bears and food storage and signing a statement of understanding to rent a tent at Curry Village, I was amused to notice that there is a outdoor candy bar vending machine with 30-40 candy bars behind ?glass or plastic with food plainly visible outside at the Curry Village Pavillion. Can a vending machine be harder than a car for a bear to open?

In addition, the high country camps have food and food scraps within tented eating areas which would seem a much greater temptation to a bear than a water bottle in tent. There is a certain inconsistency with regard to the application of storage restrictions depending on whether the involved party is a "visitor" or "the company " (Delaware North).

Strangely, it is "allowed" to have food in hard sided Curry Village Cabins, even in view of open screened windows, but not allowed in any vehicle. I doubt that the screens on the cabins are more impenetrable than a closed vehicle.

2F
avatar Re: food, bears and policy Curry Village
September 14, 2008 02:37AM
Frank Furter wrote:

> After suffering the standard lecture on bears and food storage
> and signing a statement of understanding to rent a tent at
> Curry Village, I was amused to notice that there is a outdoor
> candy bar vending machine with 30-40 candy bars behind ?glass
> or plastic with food plainly visible outside at the Curry
> Village Pavillion. Can a vending machine be harder than a car
> for a bear to open?

A lot of it comes from experience. Even Yosemite bears apparently haven't figured out how to break into vending machines. A park ranger went over this during a talk I attended. Vending machines are also designed to be resistant to human break-in. They have figured out how to break into cars by digging their claws into the door frames and working from there.

> In addition, the high country camps have food and food scraps
> within tented eating areas which would seem a much greater
> temptation to a bear than a water bottle in tent. There is a
> certain inconsistency with regard to the application of storage
> restrictions depending on whether the involved party is a
> "visitor" or "the company " (Delaware North).

There are usually people there. I had a hard time finding my way to Little Yosemite Valley, and I saw this maintenance crew camp. They had a lot of stuff stored, including dirty pots everywhere and just one guy watching the whole thing. He seemed half-asleep though. I think the food was stored in bear-resistant metal panniers.

Last year I went to Sequoia NP. They've got pretty much the same bear problems and the same food storage restrictions as Yosemite. At the Lodgepole village there's a propane grill and a standard industrial plastic garbage can (as opposed to an animal resistant steel can somehow secured bolted to the ground). Sometimes there wasn't anyone stationed there, but it was brought in when they closed. I think that concessionaire is DNC.

> Strangely, it is "allowed" to have food in hard sided Curry
> Village Cabins, even in view of open screened windows, but not
> allowed in any vehicle. I doubt that the screens on the cabins
> are more impenetrable than a closed vehicle.

They don't typical break into cabins. Like I said - learned from experience.

Still - bears have broken into vacation homes in Tahoe and started going for food. It seems to very specific with differences in bear learning. I spent three weeks in areas where I was allowed to store food in my car, and was told that in plain view in the front seat was fine. Some campgrounds had only a few scattered bear lockers generally meant for the use of motorcyclists, bicyclists, or those who came on foot/public transport.



Post Edited (09-14-08 13:00)
avatar Re: food, bears and policy Curry Village
September 14, 2008 02:04PM
The primary objective behind the bear indoctrination program concerns not tempting the very smart bears. Great emphasis is placed on the ability of a bear to “see evidence” of food—such as candy bars on the front seat of a car or ( in a vending machine). If no bear has broken into a vending machine, why provide that temptation? Isn’t the park supposed to be proactive in this process?

I am not impressed with the park arrangements to protect bears from people food. For example, some of the coolers currently available will not fit in the bear boxes (people should be told not to bring any food in large coolers into the park or reasonable options for storage should be offered.) We are advised that covering the cooler is futile as the bears “recognize the shape” under the camouflage. The bear boxes are often locked and those near Curry Village are in very poor repair. In addition, the near fanatical obsession with eliminating visual clues ignores the fact that most Americans consider their cars to be buffet tables and anyone with kids knows that stuff gets spilled during meals. All cars are essentially impossible to deodorize or decontaminate and probably smell strongly of food whether or not there is a chewing gum wrapper visible. Surely the pizza plaza at Curry Village can be smelled for miles but the food service in the valley and elsewhere in the park is held to a different standard. I am suggesting that the vender interests are placed above a consistent policy toward bears.

FF
avatar Re: food, bears and policy Curry Village
September 14, 2008 03:34PM
Frank Furter wrote:

> The primary objective behind the bear indoctrination program
> concerns not tempting the very smart bears. Great emphasis is
> placed on the ability of a bear to “see evidence” of
> food—such as candy bars on the front seat of a car or ( in a
> vending machine). If no bear has broken into a vending
> machine, why provide that temptation? Isn’t the park
> supposed to be proactive in this process?

That's the experience learned about Yosemite bears. Bears in the Rockies almost never break into cars. Bears in the Cascades don't break into cars. In Mt Rainier the regulations didn't require that we even cover anything stored in our car overnight, including coolers or clearly visible food or scented items. When I mentioned "Yosemite bears" elsewhere, park rangers started smiling in a sort of "glad we don't have to deal with them" look. Bears in Yosemite have learned to break into cars. Bears in Yosemite have apparently tried to break into vending machines, but have been unsuccessful. Not much different than the bears' learned experience about backpacking bear canisters. They may have tried, then failed, and finally gave up trying after they couldn't do it.

> I am not impressed with the park arrangements to protect bears
> from people food. For example, some of the coolers currently
> available will not fit in the bear boxes (people should be told
> not to bring any food in large coolers into the park or
> reasonable options for storage should be offered.) We are
> advised that covering the cooler is futile as the bears
> “recognize the shape” under the camouflage. The bear boxes
> are often locked and those near Curry Village are in very poor
> repair. In addition, the near fanatical obsession with
> eliminating visual clues ignores the fact that most Americans
> consider their cars to be buffet tables and anyone with kids
> knows that stuff gets spilled during meals. All cars are
> essentially impossible to deodorize or decontaminate and
> probably smell strongly of food whether or not there is a
> chewing gum wrapper visible. Surely the pizza plaza at Curry
> Village can be smelled for miles but the food service in the
> valley and elsewhere in the park is held to a different
> standard. I am suggesting that the vender interests are placed
> above a consistent policy toward bears.

You can't possibly decontaminate everything, but most people I've talked to living in bear country where car breakins occur say the bears aren't senseless. If they smell a little something, they're not going to go based on that alone. If they smell food on someone's breath, they're not likely to go for that either. Those warnings (bear going after a mint wrapper) are generally overblown. Large quantities of food that smell like large quantities of food to a bear are likely to set off a bear to try and get it. You take reasonable precautions, which means removing any edible quantities of food.

The bears do investigate the restaurants, but for the most part the trash is placed in the bear-proof trash containers and cleaned before closing. Bears don't like confrontation and won't try crashing the Curry Village Pizza Patio while in operation. Picnic tables are another matter. Everyone uses the tables in a different way.

And you're wrong about the bear boxes. The park website has a thorough listing of different bear box sizes at campgrounds, tent lodges, and trailheads.

http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/lockers.htm





The Curry Village bear boxes at the parking lot are individually assigned and they are allowed to be locked. I'm pretty sure that campgrounds bear boxes can be locked, but the communal ones can't be. In any case, each tent cabin is supposed to have a recently installed bear boxes in front.

Re: food, bears and policy Curry Village
September 15, 2008 02:37PM
The fact is that bears DO break into cars when they're parked and left alone. They don't come in the Pizza restaurant or the deli, because there are people there.

Reported breakins are investigated to find what the reason was, and the rules you don't like are the ones that they've gathered from the past experiences.

If it seems extreme to worry about gum wrappers, just think about human nature. You tell someone "clean the food out of your car" and they'll take out what they want, and leave the old fast-food bags, drinks, and no doubt forget a few things. Then the bear breaks in and who do the people blame for the broken door and window? The park service, of course.

Personally, even though I have comprehensive insurance and could maybe convince the park ranger that I tried, but missed the french fry under the seat, I still don't want to have to deal with the broken car. So I clean, vacuum, look in and under everything, and hope I got it all. If I missed a tube of sunscreen in the door panel, and nothing happens, I'm grateful. By being so emphatic that everything must be cleaned out, they hope to minimize or eliminate breakins from the people who do try.

For the ones who resent it or think it's an annoying hassle, if they get broken into, it's their own fault. If the ranger senses that they had that atttitude and gives them a ticket to boot, whose fault is that? Every time a bear is rewarded by a successful breakin, it propagates the situation.

It's our own fault (not us personally); for years they fed bears at the dump every night, bringing in an unnatural number of bears who quickly got dependent on that. When they quit getting fed, and they were hungry, they found what else they could find, and being smart, learned new ways to get food. Why would they go back to grubs and termites if there was an easier way? It'll take a long time of getting no results before bears go back to their natural balance and habits, and if one person in 1000 who goes into Yosemite gives them rewards by not cleaning out their food, that's enough to perpetuate the problem.

If you feel comfortable not being so nitpickey about crumbs and wrappers, that's fine, but don't blame anyone but yourself if you get a breakin. You may get away with it 49 times, and on the 50th, it happens. I'd just as soon clean the car out and at least know I did what I could.





Gary
Yosemite Photo Galleries: http://www.pbase.com/roberthouse/yo
avatar This week's bear report
September 15, 2008 02:49PM
Yosemite Valley
Bear Activity in the Valley Campgrounds has picked up again this week. The majority of bear incidents this week happened in the Pines Campgrounds and involved bears getting food from food storage lockers likely not secured properly. There were two bear incidents at Devil's Elbow near El Capitan this week as well, one of those being a vehicle break in.

White Wolf and Tuolumne Meadows
There have been numerous reports of bears at White Wolf and Porcupine campgrounds this week. Bear activity in Tuolumne seems to be slower but there is still some bear activity.

Help Us Protect Bears!
Last year at this time we started to have more problems with bears getting into homes. Please help prevent these incidents from happening this year by remember to secure all windows and doors when you are not home and keep windows closed in rooms that are not occupied, particularly windows close to the kitchen.

avatar Re: food, bears and policy Curry Village
September 15, 2008 03:53PM
Interestingly, having spent a couple days at Mount St Helens, there was not even one sign warning campers about bears. Maybe the humans are more bear savvy up north, or....Bigfoot ate all the bears...?
avatar Re: food, bears and policy Curry Village
September 15, 2008 06:12PM
There wasn't much in the way of warnings in Yellowstone either. Yosemite bears are the smart bears.

avatar Re: food, bears and policy Curry Village
September 16, 2008 04:24AM
Vince wrote:

> Interestingly, having spent a couple days at Mount St Helens,
> there was not even one sign warning campers about bears. Maybe
> the humans are more bear savvy up north, or....Bigfoot ate all
> the bears...?

They've got a legal hunting season there.

I remember being at the Kalaloch Campground at Olympic NP on the coast. That coastal section is from a half to maybe a couple of miles wide at the most. They've got at least four known bears there and none are known to patrol the campgrounds. They apparently are in deep fear of humans because they've been shot at before when they're in legal hunting areas.

I'm not sure of other areas, but in my trips to the Rockies and Cascades, the usual message is to store food in your car, and some areas it's recommended to keep identifiable containers either covered or in the trunk. Bears just don't break into cars there. It's just been taught as a "craft" from one generation to the next in Yosemite, Tahoe, and SEKI.

I think in other areas the campground population may not be as concentrated as in Yosemite or other Sierra locations.

avatar Re: food, bears and policy Curry Village
September 15, 2008 10:54PM
The wifey and I did some hiking in the Kings Range earlier this year.
Did the Lost Coast trail and some other hiking there... Kings Peak,
trail to School Marms Grove... anyway... we got shuttled up to
the North TH of the Lost Coast and on the way the lady says,
"Yosemite transferred some bears up here". They require bear
canisters throughout the Kings Range so maybe she is right.
I just thought it a bit odd. I keep forgetting to ask when I've been
picking up permits or see Rangers in Yose.
Anyone got a clue?
I thought they quit moving bears. I know they used to move the
Valley bears to Beehive area but they would eventually make their
way back to better and easier pickings...
avatar Re: food, bears and policy Curry Village
September 16, 2008 09:41AM
>>>And you're wrong about the bear boxes. The park website has a thorough listing of different bear box sizes at campgrounds, tent lodges, and trailheads.http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/lockers.htm<<;

Too small for some large coolers, but this information is not mentioned during the registration process for lodging managed by Delaware North. Who measures their coolers before taking a vacation?


>>The Curry Village bear boxes at the parking lot are individually assigned and they are allowed to be locked. I'm pretty sure that campgrounds bear boxes can be locked, but the communal ones can't be. In any case, each tent cabin is supposed to have a recently installed bear boxes in front.<<

There is no indication that the historically public use bear boxes in the parking lot at Curry Village are individually assigned. Many latches are broken and doors bent. Very large (> 100 qt coolers) will not fit. During the last 10 times I have stayed in the valley, I have never been informed prior to my visit not to bring large coolers to the park and this is never mentioned at the entrance stations. Within Curry Village, most of the small keyed lockers (coin operated) are broken. My comments do not apply to the boxes associated with the Curry Tents.

FF





The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
avatar Re: food, bears and policy Curry Village
September 16, 2008 10:35AM
Frank Furter wrote:

> >>>And you're wrong about the bear boxes. The park website has
> a thorough listing of different bear box sizes at campgrounds,
> tent lodges, and
> trailheads.http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/lockers.htm<<;
>
> Too small for some large coolers, but this information is not
> mentioned during the registration process for lodging managed
> by Delaware North. Who measures their coolers before taking a
> vacation?

Anyone visiting Yosemite overnight needs to check the information on the NPS or Delaware North websites:

http://www.yosemitepark.com/food-storage.aspx

Quote

Food Storage Locker Information

The chart below provides food storage locker sizes and locations in the park. Keep this in mind while packing your trip as your ice chests and all other food items will need to fit in them.

Curry Village (1 locker at each unit)
Small Tent Cabins 35.5"W x 20.5"D x 23" H
Large Tent Cabins 47.5"W x 20.5"D x 23" H

Housekeeping Camp (2 lockers at each unit, one of each size)
47.5"W x 18" D x 18" H
48" W x 36" D x 22.5”H

All Camp Grounds *Upper Pines exception* (1 locker at each unit)
45"W x 33" D x 18"H

Upper Pines Camp Grounds (1 locker at each unit)
**Many sites have upgraded to the larger locker**
Small Locker 45"W x 33" D x 18"H
Large Locker 43"W x 35" D x 28"H

Camp Four & Nearly all Trail Head Parking Areas
45"W x 33" D x 18"H

El Capitan Bridge
Large Locker 43"W x 35" D x 28"H

Tuolumne Meadows Lodge & White Wolf Lodge
48.5"W x 36" D x 20.5"H

Little Yosemite Valley, High Sierra Camps & Village Day Use Parking Lot
**Village Day Use Lockers should be reserved for those coming back after dark**
49”W x 17”D x by 17”H

For more information on food storage lockers please visit:
http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/lockers.htm

> >>The Curry Village bear boxes at the parking lot are
> individually assigned and they are allowed to be locked. I'm
> pretty sure that campgrounds bear boxes can be locked, but the
> communal ones can't be. In any case, each tent cabin is
> supposed to have a recently installed bear boxes in front.<<
>
> There is no indication that the historically public use bear
> boxes in the parking lot at Curry Village are individually
> assigned. Many latches are broken and doors bent. Very large (>
> 100 qt coolers) will not fit. During the last 10 times I have
> stayed in the valley, I have never been informed prior to my
> visit not to bring large coolers to the park and this is never
> mentioned at the entrance stations. Within Curry Village, most
> of the small keyed lockers (coin operated) are broken. My
> comments do not apply to the boxes associated with the Curry
> Tents.

They're typically padlocked in my experience, and various trips reports I've read mentioned that they were assigned. Of course they've got the newer ones next to the tent cabins. Anyone staying in a hard cabin can store food inside the cabin with the windows closed. I've never heard of those bear boxes being communal. Most of the ones I've seen were padlocked. I know from experience how fast the NPS cuts off locks that aren't supposed to be there.

http://www.davidlnelson.md/ElCapitan/In_the_Valley.htm

Quote

I drove to Curry Village, checked in, got my key and tent assignment, 705.

<snip>

I put my food into my assigned bear box (due to the fact that bears are in the Valley, all food must be stored in bear boxes). My assigned bear box, related to my tent number, was just outside the pool and shower complex.

I may have spoken too soon about some of the boxes by the parking lot. There is a mention that many of them are considered "day use lockers" but I saw many of the parking lot boxes were padlocked and some had a number on them.

avatar Re: food, bears and policy Curry Village
September 16, 2008 11:34AM
I realize this may be controversal, but I would argue that the commercial operations in the park are a major part of the bear problem but the blame is usually placed on the tourist. I cannot believe that a black bear travels to the valley to break into my car because it saw a bottle cap on the floorboard. The odors from the massive amount of food served at Curry Village alone would attract animals. In addition, the parking lot near Curry has apple trees which historically have attracted animals. Bears may enter cars for food, but they are certainly attracted to the general area due to the extensive food preparation, visuals, and smells associated with the commercial operations in the Valley not simply because a parked car is available. Even if bears have not broken into Yosemite vending machine, those machines represent an attractive nuisance.

FF





The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
avatar Re: food, bears and policy Curry Village
September 16, 2008 01:09PM
Curry Village food odors do attract bears. So does food service preparation at Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Lake Tahoe, Crater Lake, upstate New York, Sonoma County, Idaho, British Columbia, Alberta, Minnesota, etc. The food preparers in Yosemite follow all applicable regulations. They store their food properly (indoors) and work diligently in keeping food waste in bear-proof dumpsters. There is zero chance that food service is going away in an area as popular as Yosemite. People would end up bringing their own food anyways.

What we have in Yosemite is a situation where bears have learned how to break into cars. And defeat bear bagging in the backcountry. Other than that, bears in other parts of the countries do look for picnics to raid and unprotected food from backpackers. They do dig through unsecured garbage.

We blame the tourist for unsecured food in the front and backcountry because we know Yosemite bears are different. It's a basic human-bear interaction. Most bears in Yosemite don't gravitate towards the Valley. Most go for the usual nuts, berries, fish, grubs, etc that are the natural bear diet. It's just a few that end up patrolling areas in the Valley for easy meals.
avatar Re: food, bears and policy Curry Village
September 17, 2008 10:32AM
y_p_w wrote:

> What we have in Yosemite is a situation where bears have
> learned how to break into cars.

In the Valley campgrounds they've also learned to snatch and run. You can't let food get more than a few feet away without running a chance of losing it.

avatar Re: food, bears and policy Curry Village
September 17, 2008 01:50PM
eeek wrote:

> y_p_w wrote:
>
> > What we have in Yosemite is a situation where bears have
> > learned how to break into cars.
>
> In the Valley campgrounds they've also learned to snatch and
> run. You can't let food get more than a few feet away without
> running a chance of losing it.

Yeah. I remember visiting the Rockies. When I booked, I called the Grand Teton Lodging Company and asked about their tent cabins and food storage. I was floored when they said that in the trunk was fine and they didn't provide bear boxes. We ended up staying in a log cabin, but I did ask one of the rangers about bears. I mentioned I was from California and was used to visiting the Sierras. He told me that he once camped at Yosemite when he barely turned his back on the cooler he was going to place in the bear box. A juvenile bear just pounced on it but let it go when he screamed at it. He said that a Yosemite Valley bear is unlike any other bear. This same group of rangers was discussing the bear pepper spray they were carrying. One said that he thought he was more likely to need it against a violent person than a bear.

At Crater Lake I used my Yosemite survival instincts. We had a bear box at our campsite, and my wife got angry at me for using it for everything including putting back toothpaste. She thought it was rude because of the noise being heard by other campers. She thought I should just assemble everything and open it only once to put stuff back in.
avatar Re: food, bears and policy Curry Village
September 17, 2008 01:18AM
A couple other comments:
The unique geographical feature of Yosemite Valley (being almost completely enclosed) reduces the range for bears. Although food service may exist in other national parks, it does not occur under the physical restriction imposed by the Valley. Grizzlies require something on the order of 100 sq miles to live "naturally". I suspect that a black bear would require something like 5-10 sq miles, depending on the carrying capacity of the area. I don't know the current numbers but if we assume 20+ bears in the Valley (the last numbers I could find), clearly there is congestion since the valley floor is only 4-10 sq miles.

In many ways, it is like blaming a surfer for a shark attack when surfing in waters filled with seals near a ship with a sardine packing plant during a grunion run and turtle migration. There are clearly stupid tourist tricks, but the circumstances of the Valley are not solely due to the actions of visitors and are a product of multiple factors, including the concessions. Black bears, as opportunists, when lured to an area by smells will explore for food whether or not there is obvious source by turning over rocks, pulling up vegetation, clawing at tree trunks and, yes, damaging vehicles. I would argue, given the unique features of Yosemite Valley and bear congestion, food service should be handled unlike any other national park (not equal to other national parks). What is acceptable in Yellowstone is probably unacceptable in Yosemite and anything that represents an attraction to bears should be re-assessed. In many ways, it is amazing that there are SO FEW human-bear encounters in the Valley, given the unique Valley circumstances.

I believe that the "visible food wrapper" program has been in place for at least 15 years. It would be interesting to determine if there has been any real change in the number of auto break-ins per bear per year, all other factors being controlled during that interval.

I find it ironic to visit the park and effectivelly be told: "Welcome to Yosemite. We who work and live here are in harmony with nature. If there are any bear problems, it is due to you, the ignorant tourist."

FF





The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
avatar Re: food, bears and policy Curry Village
September 17, 2008 02:01PM
Smells, or no smells, bears won't keep coming back if they don't score. Bears just can't afford activities that don't result in calories. Bears come to the Valley campgrounds because they are very successful there. With that many people camping it'd be hard for them not to find somebody doing things wrong.

Re: food, bears and policy Curry Village
September 17, 2008 03:46PM
Frank Furter wrote:
> I find it ironic to visit the park and effectivelly be told:
> "Welcome to Yosemite. We who work and live here are in harmony
> with nature. If there are any bear problems, it is due to you,
> the ignorant tourist."


I've never had anyone there tell me that. There are unquestionably "ignorant tourists" and if they feed the wildlife, intentionally or not, they're contributing to the problem.
Here are some, not feeding, but about as bad:
http://www.pbase.com/roberthouse/image/88516300
That bear and cubs were easily in view from the pathway, but of course these "special" people had show a total lack of respect for the bears and creep in for their photos, at least until the ranger told them to get the h out of there. "Ignorant tourists" pose their kids with the deer, even as far as trying to set one on the deer's back, they leave their trash on the ground for someone else to clean up. And they think feeding the wildlife is really OK, after all, this IS a park, isn't it?

Maybe you got a grumpy ranger, if you got the idea that he was telling you that you're the problem.

If the bears aren't getting anything from the vending machines, taking them out, as you propose, will accomplish nothing other than inconveniencing people. Closing down all the food places...good luck with that, and it still won't help if you leave food in your car. Guess I just don't understand why it's a big deal to clean anything out of your car that might attract the bears to break in to it.





Gary
Yosemite Photo Galleries: http://www.pbase.com/roberthouse/yo
avatar Re: food, bears and policy Curry Village
September 17, 2008 04:11PM
Sierrafan wrote:

> If the bears aren't getting anything from the vending machines,

If they were, those machines would be long gone. What I have to wonder about is why they don't break into the kitchen at Bear Paw in Sequoia:



avatar Re: food, bears and policy Curry Village
September 18, 2008 02:28AM
eeek wrote:

> Sierrafan wrote:
>
> > If the bears aren't getting anything from the vending
> machines,
>
> If they were, those machines would be long gone. What I have to
> wonder about is why they don't break into the kitchen at Bear
> Paw in Sequoia:

One of the employees at Yosemite Lodge was telling the story about a bear that waltzed right into a kitchen (through an open door) somewhere in the Valley and proceeded to munch on whatever it could find. That's extremely rare, and I'd think any bear that continues to be that bold would be put down. I'm guessing it was. That's not typical or repeated behavior. If it was, the NPS would take extreme measures to prevent it becoming a learned behavior.

I have heard of bears breaking into empty vacation homes in the Lake Tahoe area. The key would be no continuous human presence compounded with no attempt to secure food in bear-proof containers. I'm pretty sure that in Yosemite, places like that (White Wolf, High-Sierra Camps, etc) food would be removed in the off-season. As long as the bears don't score a meal, they don't typically try again.

When they do score food, they apparently find a routine and repeat it. I like the story about the bear that found really good stuff in a Camaro and then proceeded to break into 17 more Camaros (just on sight) that summer until it was tracked and put down. It earned the nickname "Camaro Bear". Or "Snaggletooth" - a bear that liked to chew on canned foods to the point where its teeth were all messed up. I heard its demise came when it found some Reddi-Whip and bit into the pressurized can. It created jagged little metal pieces that cut into its mouth and I think they eventually put it down.

avatar Re: food, bears and policy Curry Village
September 18, 2008 04:10AM
A few years back a friend and I arrived quite late at the Shilo Inn in Mammoth Lakes. The desk clerk was in a bit of a tizzy because earlier that evening a bear had strolled into the lobby.

avatar Re: food, bears and policy Curry Village
September 17, 2008 01:46AM
Frank,
The Valley isn't as enclosed as you think. The bears are anything but trapped there.
They can easily walk up Indian Canyon or up past Rockslides, etc.
If walk the old Big Oak Flat road you will probably encounter one.. there
are a huge number of Black Oaks in that area..
Anywhere where there is a large concentration of people there continues
to be problem bears. This is a human problem due to laziness, plain and simple.
I've seen it firsthand many times. People too lazy to carry a bear canister or
too lazy to latch their bear box (no kidding!) (it's raining... wah!) etc.
So the problem areas continue to be Glen Aulin, LYV, Cathedral Lakes,
and Lyell Canyon.
In the backcountry I've seen countless bears which run their butts
as fast as possible as soon as they see or hear me. (Saw one last wkend
at Middle Branigan.. case in point)
The problem bears in the backcountry hot spots won't go away
anytime soon even though they require canisters.

Anyway, I'm sure the concessionaires are as guilty as the general population at times...
avatar Re: food, bears and policy Curry Village
September 18, 2008 09:38AM
avatar Re: food, bears and policy Curry Village
September 18, 2008 04:39PM
Interesting article suggesting problem bears do not necessarily learn from related bears:

When Bears Steal Human Food, Mom's Not To Blame
ScienceDaily (May 10, 2008) — Researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) found that the black bears that become habituated to human food and garbage may not be learning these behaviors exclusively from their mothers, as widely assumed. Bears that steal human food sources are just as likely to form these habits on their own or pick them up from unrelated, "bad influence" bears.
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The study, which examines the role of genetic relatedness in black bear behavior that leads to conflict with humans, appears in the latest edition of the Journal of Mammalogy.
"Understanding how bears acquire behavior is important in conservation biology and devising strategies to minimize potential human-wildlife conflicts," says Dr. Jon Beckmann, a co-author of the study. "According to our findings, bears that feed on human food and garbage are not always learning these habits from their mothers."
Distributed across much of North America, black bears--which average around 300 pounds in weight--become a problematic species for wildlife managers when they become accustomed to human sources of food, and the habit is a hard one to break. Bears that develop these tendencies often remain 'problem' bears for human communities, leading to property damage, injuries to people, not to mention costly relocation and sometimes death for bears.
Working in both the Lake Tahoe Basin on the California-Nevada border and California's Yosemite National Park (where bears breaking into visitors' cars has become commonplace), the researchers examined genetic and behavioral data for 116 black bears. The bears were classified as either food-conditioned (or hooked on human food) or non-food-conditioned (those bears that forage on natural food sources). The study also focused on nine mother-offspring pairs to test the assumption that mother bears teach their cubs to invade garbage bins or homes.
The verdict: Researchers found little evidence linking food-conditioned behavior with related lineage. The study indicates that bears may seek out human food as a function of social learning that may be independent of close relatives, or as a habit that is acquired in isolation from other bears. Specifically, the study identified the mothers of nine of the bears in the study, of which five (56 percent) did not share the behavioral habits of their mothers.
"These findings can help inform management strategies that would otherwise assume that cubs will always repeat the behaviors of food-conditioned mothers," says Dr. Jodi Hilty, Director of WCS-North America. "Moving mothers and cubs may have only a limited effect in eliminating human-bear conflicts, which seem to be primarily driven by human food sources that are available to bears."
Meanwhile on the East Coast, WCS-Adirondacks has been supplying the High Peaks Wilderness Area in upstate New York with bear-proof food canisters for campers to rent at local stores. A recent survey found that 95 percent of campers now use the canisters, and reports of conflicts between bears and campers have declined significantly.





The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
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