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Big Bend National Park trip, April 24 to May 1, 2017

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Offline House Made of Dawn

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Re: Big Bend National Park trip, April 24 to May 1, 2017
« Reply #15 on: May 11, 2017, 08:41:49 AM »
.....try going downhill from the gate marked "official vehicles only" in the no-generator zone of the Basin Campground.  This leads down to the old sewage treatment plant........Probab ly for bear.  TWWG

Good call TWWG...this pic came from there.

That's a gorgeous photo, badknees. I've birded that area, but never been lucky enough to run into a bear there. Next time I'm up there, I may bring a folding stool and hang out for awhile.
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

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Offline elhombre

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Re: Big Bend National Park trip, April 24 to May 1, 2017
« Reply #16 on: May 11, 2017, 09:23:19 AM »
Thanks for the reply about your conversation Jonathan.  I'm am not trying to "shoot the messenger".  It is just rare to hear of actual ranger thoughts here on BBC.

Those bears in Yosemite are a different breed and problem.  They have been filmed prying open car doors to get at coolers inside cars.  (I guess a car isn't a bear proof container)  They roam the backpacker's campground at night and steal packs from people.  My buddy had a bear with a backpack in his mouth jump over him and his girl while they slept on the ground there.  (Note-- Never put your car keys in your backpack that a bear might steal)  You report that a ranger says a bear came up and stole a sandwich from a lady while she was sitting there.  Did the bear walk up, slap her in the face, and take the sandwich from her hand?

They want us to believe that me not having a bear canister stuffed with all my food is the cause of this bear behavior?  And somehow us backpackers are the root cause of all this bad bear behavior?   I scream BS!  The people who are responsible for the bad bears are the stupid_$$ neckbone tourist who leave their food and coolers out on tables in the popular campgrounds.  Not us backpackers away from the roads.  I've seen it, my friend saw it.  People leave their food and crap all over camp when they go to the bathroom or asleep at night.  And rangers don't walk around giving tickets for this bad behavior.  Rangers not enforcing the rules and educating the neckbones is the other half of the problem.  Us backpacking in the back country with our food in our packs NOT stored in a plastic bear container is not the root cause of bad bear behavior.  The food reward comes from the front country users.

Remember the closure some years back of Glenn Springs up to Juniper because some jack wad left his stuff out at Glenn Springs #1 and a bear came by and ate on it?  Just left his stuff out around camp and left.  How many times have we driven by campsites with tables full of crap left out and no one around?

Finally, They closed the Chisos this winter because too many bears were hanging around.  Now they say there are too few bears.  Sounds like more bears means more closures, and there was never a human - bear incident they could honestly report about.  Just a bear wouldn't get off the trail so a human could walk through.    Will day-hiking be closed when the bear population grows to the ranger's ambiguous full  population number?

FEAR the BEAR
« Last Edit: May 11, 2017, 09:33:49 AM by elhombre »
The older I get, the more I realize what freedom really means.  May God bless America

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Offline Homer67

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Re: Big Bend National Park trip, April 24 to May 1, 2017
« Reply #17 on: May 11, 2017, 12:24:51 PM »
Were they sticklers on bear canisters on the OML?  We hiked it recently and were told that our food must be in arm's reach at all times or in a canister if not. While we did have our canisters, we did not hike with them.

Similarly, when we visited Olympic last Oct they had stacks of bear canisters behind the counter, two types.  When asked if we had a canister we replied that we did, two in fact. Ranger Megan motioned behind and asked, "This one or that one?"

I pointed, "That one," and all was good.

I enjoy the Pinnacles camp sites, especially PI3. Baby spent her first extended overnight backpack in that spot in April 2016. It's good to hear tales of others who are getting out there with their young kids, the incredible pack weights - tales of glory.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2017, 12:30:39 PM by Homer67 »
Ah Big Bend, we will soon return to reacquaint ourselves in our ritual of blood, exhaustion and dehydration. How can we resist the temptation to strip ourselves of the maladies of civilization?

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Offline House Made of Dawn

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Re: Big Bend National Park trip, April 24 to May 1, 2017
« Reply #18 on: May 11, 2017, 12:44:27 PM »
Homer, I think the scuttlebutt is that bear canisters (or similar) may become mandatory sometime in 2018. I'm going to lobby for Ursacks as an approved container. Works fine out west and, as elhombre pointed out, those bears in the West Coast Sierras and Yosemite are waaaay worse behaved than ours.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2017, 12:59:40 PM by House Made of Dawn »
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

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Offline badknees

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Re: Big Bend National Park trip, April 24 to May 1, 2017
« Reply #19 on: May 13, 2017, 11:17:46 AM »
It seems stupid to me to even think of requiring Bear Canisters on the OML or elsewhere where there are no bear boxes.  But I have one that I bought to do the CDT Loop in RMNP which was also completely unnecessary and useless but it gives me joy to have it prominently displayed in my garage shelf where all the neighborhood guys can see it.    Pretty rare sight around Houston to own a bear canister, gives me street cred.    If you want good wildlife or bird photos try going downhill from the gate marked "official vehicles only" in the no-generator zone of the Basin Campground.  This leads down to the old sewage treatment plant (now just a big overlook area) and then down the hill to the first water well drilled in the Basin a long time ago (which had to be abandoned due to depleting the aquifer too quickly).  Then go a little further down the road and you will come to the new sewage treatment plant which has a couple of nice settlement ponds full of cattails and reeds and lush grassy areas.   When I was there a week ago I noticed 2 game cameras set up to photograph macro fauna coming up from the direction of the window trail to get a drink.   Probably for bear.  TWWG

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Offline House Made of Dawn

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Re: Big Bend National Park trip, April 24 to May 1, 2017
« Reply #20 on: May 13, 2017, 01:32:09 PM »
 :icon_lol: :icon_lol: :icon_lol:  Bear Clown!!!!!!  I want one!!!!!!
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

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Offline Jonathan Sadow

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Re: Big Bend National Park trip, April 24 to May 1, 2017
« Reply #21 on: May 17, 2017, 05:51:44 PM »
I'm not too worried about the bear canister this issue, as I don't see how they could enforce this across the park as a whole.
I'm wondering if they will require an inspection of your canister(s) before issuing permits.
I would think they'd at least want to see and approve your canister, or see your rental receipt. And I assume the penalty for being caught in the backcountry without one will be significant. Richard, that extra "s" as in canister(s) makes me shudder in anticipatory horror. I hope I never have to go there. Here's hoping we can persuade them to accept Ursacks as a reasonable alternative. I used an Ursack Major during my recent cross-park hike and, at 8.7 ounces, it held 10 days of carefully packed food and smellies and wasn't that much of a pain to use.

When I picked up my backpacking permit when visiting Grand Teton National Park a couple of years ago, the ranger informed me that a bear canister was required and said I could borrow one from the park.  I told him I had one (which was true), and that was that.  Apparently, they trust you on this.  My guess is that, if there's some sort of bear incident and you're found to be without a canister, you'd be in trouble.

The ranger who gave the bear talk I attended specifically mentioned the list the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee puts out of approved bear-resistant containers.  The latest iteration of that list (dated May 9, 2017) has the Ursack Model S29 AllWhite and AllMitey on it.  So I'd say you're good to go if you have one of those models unless the park says otherwise sometime in the future.

Thanks for the reply about your conversation Jonathan.  I'm am not trying to "shoot the messenger".  It is just rare to hear of actual ranger thoughts here on BBC.

No offense given, none taken....

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Those bears in Yosemite are a different breed and problem.  They have been filmed prying open car doors to get at coolers inside cars.  (I guess a car isn't a bear proof container)  They roam the backpacker's campground at night and steal packs from people.  My buddy had a bear with a backpack in his mouth jump over him and his girl while they slept on the ground there.  (Note-- Never put your car keys in your backpack that a bear might steal)  You report that a ranger says a bear came up and stole a sandwich from a lady while she was sitting there.  Did the bear walk up, slap her in the face, and take the sandwich from her hand?

I didn't ask the ranger the details of the incident, but the impression I got was that the bear simply came up to the lady, took the sandwich, and ran off with it (the bear ranger saw this from a distance and could do nothing other than hope that nothing tragic happened).

The NPS has a long and sorry history with bears, mainly because early officials considered bears to be a key in attracting people to come to parks, making them into sort of wilderness theme parks.  One of the things that the ranger pulled out her bear canister for her talk was this photo from Yellowstone National Park demonstrating administrative policy toward bears in the 1920s and '30s.   Thanks to decades of this policy, generations of bears learned that humans and their possessions could be easy food sources.  This was especially problematic because bears are quite intelligent and very adaptable creatures.  In YOSE, for example, food can only be stored out of sight in vehicles in parking lots during the day (never at night and never in campgrounds) because bears have learned to look into vehicle windows and, upon seeing items known to have food in them such as coolers, will break into the vehicles.  The impression that I got was that the NPS is so worried about this situation appearing in BIBE that it's going to make sure that the barn door stays closed before the, uh, bears get out and therefore is dropping the bomb in regards to containers.

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Offline House Made of Dawn

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Re: Big Bend National Park trip, April 24 to May 1, 2017
« Reply #22 on: May 17, 2017, 07:11:25 PM »
The ranger who gave the bear talk I attended specifically mentioned the list the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee puts out of approved bear-resistant containers.  The latest iteration of that list (dated May 9, 2017) has the Ursack Model S29 AllWhite and AllMitey on it.  So I'd say you're good to go if you have one of those models unless the park says otherwise sometime in the future.

Halllelujah! That's great news!

The impression that I got was that the NPS is so worried about this situation appearing in BIBE that it's going to make sure that the barn door stays closed before the, uh, bears get out and therefore is dropping the bomb in regards to containers.

Yep. Keep those bears in the barn!   ;)
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

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Offline Casa Grande

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Re: Big Bend National Park trip, April 24 to May 1, 2017
« Reply #23 on: May 17, 2017, 10:04:43 PM »
Jonathan, you have some of the best trip reports.  Thanks so much for sharing them with us.

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Offline alan in shreveport

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Re: Big Bend National Park trip, April 24 to May 1, 2017
« Reply #24 on: May 19, 2017, 07:06:34 AM »
Last summer in Gatlinburg, Tenn. I learned an unlocked F-150 is not bear proof either.
There were 2 hostess pies in the truck and he would not quit until he ate both of them. I was able to chase him out of the truck by yelling, etc. but not far enough away to lock the doors ( I didn't have my key fob - at first) each time he re-opened the door and climbed back in, punctuated with false charges at me in between trips. A false charge at me works every time - I scoot out of the way.
Amazingly, other than eating the pies, he didn't damage the truck at all - inside or outside.

 


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