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View Full Version : Bear containers are coming to ADKs



masshysteria
09-14-2004, 07:40 AM
It was inevitable, the bear proof containers are going to be mandatory next year. It's just a matter of the law makers putting their J.Hancock on it. During my weekend stay at Ore Bed Brook LT, I talked with an EnCon officer and a Wildlife Mngt. officer, who both told me that the bear problem was out of hand, because people were not hanging their food properly. I met a couple of young men who lost all of their food because they didn't have time to hang it, so they cached it somewhere. I saw the remnants of a bear bag hanging next to the Johns Brook trail, at the Big Slide intersection. The bag was in the crotch of a branch, hung with yellow cord, and the claw marks of the bear climbing up the tree were very obvious. It was interesting to see a plastic jar of what looked like peanut butter, pierced with teeth marks, and all the PB licked out. The only thing the bear didn't eat were some baby carrots and the toothbrush.

We met the Wildlife officer at the Garden, told him of the incident and showed him the size of the paw print. He said it was probably a 350 lber that he has tagged and collared, and it is not afraid of people. The sad thing was that he said if the bear got too comfortable with people, and started rummaging through tents and campsites with people present, he would be required to put the animal down. That would be such a tragedy!

My question is one that has probably been put forth earlier, but how do you folks pack that thing? I'm not sure it would fit inside my pack, if it did I could fill it with food and other things. If I strapped it to the outside of the pack, how would I attach it? There doesn't appear to be any attachment points on it. Any thoughts?

DON'T FEED THE BEARS!

1ADAM12
09-14-2004, 07:48 AM
Tom,

I just bought a bear canister from campmor. I also bought a carry bag for it that has loops on it. With the carry sack I can attach the canister to the outside of my backpack. I carry the canister on the outside of my pack on the bottom where there are compression straps. I think most backpacks have this feature.

ADAM

spaddock
09-14-2004, 08:44 AM
I rented the Garcia cannister on my last trip and it fit right inside my pack. I have a 70 litre pack and usually have lots of room in it since the rest of my gear is fairly lightweight.

The Garcia models seem to be the most popular, they're the ones on the bear cannister signs in the ADK's and they are also the ones recommended by Yosemite where they are also mandatory.

At 2.8lbs I'm hoping the designers can build a more lightweight version out of carbon fibre or something. As more and more parks make these mandatory I'm sure we'll see more designs hit the market. I've seen ones that are slightly larger with more room inside, not sure why they don't get the nod.

I can rent one for $5 per weekend so that is probably what I'll do for a while as they are $80CDN to purchase.


S.

spaddock
09-14-2004, 08:44 AM
If they make the cannisters mandatory, will they be mandatory in winter season as well?

S.

percious
09-14-2004, 08:59 AM
No. I am pretty sure you can travel bear container free from Dec. 1 to April 1.

-percious

Tim Seaver
09-14-2004, 09:22 AM
>>>>>The Garcia models seem to be the most popular, they're the ones on the bear cannister signs in the ADK's and they are also the ones recommended by Yosemite where they are also mandatory.

At 2.8lbs I'm hoping the designers can build a more lightweight version out of carbon fibre or something. As more and more parks make these mandatory I'm sure we'll see more designs hit the market. I've seen ones that are slightly larger with more room inside, not sure why they don't get the nod.
+++++++++++++++++++++++

It would be nice if a smaller size container were to produced, as well...I find the Garcia's size to be overkill for 1 or 2 person overnights.

Mike D.
09-14-2004, 09:24 AM
There ia a canister called a bear vault , little lighter than a garcia w/ a wider mouth for loading, they have a web site. They are not yet certified but have been tested on black bears w/ good results. As to size, when i use one i fill it w/ other items to save space.

spaddock
09-14-2004, 09:27 AM
I was doing a 2 night 2 1/2 day trip with 3 of us and we had to eat like crazy the first day to be able to fit it all in.

You're right, probably to big for 1 person overnight, but you can stuff other things in there if space is a concern in your pack.

I do hope the selection broadens as the demand for these things inevitably increases.


S.

raftingguy
09-14-2004, 09:28 AM
My container fits perfectly in the bottom pocket of my Kelty pack. It's almost as if the pocket were made to fit a bear canister.

spaddock
09-14-2004, 09:37 AM
Bear Vault's website is: http://www.bearvault.com/bearvault_details.php

They compare theirs with the Garcia model. Only thing that really jumped out at me was the waterproofness. It's a little lighter too, but bigger so might be harder to shove in your pack.

S.

rambler
09-14-2004, 09:54 AM
Check a post over on thru-hiker.com that describes a bear in Yosemite opening a cannister by repeatedly banging it against a rock. I recently hiked with a member of this board who has a cannister bag. It has several ways of attaching easliy to a pack.

1ADAM12
09-14-2004, 10:06 AM
Here is the guys post from thru-hiker.com

Last week, we returned from a vacation in Yosemite. While there, a ranger described to us how a female black bear broke into a sealed, approved hard-sided bear cannister in the region of Nevada Fall. The ranger reports that the bear smashed the side of the cannister onto a hard object for 45 minutes until it broke.
This same bear was shot to death, along with her cub, in late July or early August after "false charging" (running at hikers until they dropped their food-laden packs), and after the cub climbed onto the back of a Boy Scout while trying to tear the pack off his back.

It would appear that a hard-sided cannister should most properly be described as "bear resistant", not "bear proof". If so, perhaps the performance gap (if any) between the Ursack TKO and a hard sided cannister is illusory.

Might it be time for the the appropriate regulatory body to consider adding the Ursack TKO to its list of approved containers?

spaddock
09-14-2004, 10:07 AM
Found this off the thru-hiker.com website

http://www.wild-ideas.net/products.html

The weekender version weights less than 2 lbs, and they used carbon fibre! Pretty pricey though at $195.

Definitely gonna wait a while before I purchase a cannister as it looks like there is a lot of R&D going into this stuff now.


S.

Jean
09-14-2004, 10:09 AM
I have used the Garcia Machine canister for 3 years and I love it despite the extra weight.
It fits perfectly inside the top portion of my Osprey Crescent 90 pack.

rhihn
09-14-2004, 01:35 PM
There ia a canister called a bear vault , little lighter than a garcia w/ a wider mouth for loading, they have a web site. They are not yet certified but have been tested on black bears w/ good results. As to size, when i use one i fill it w/ other items to save space.

We used to rent the Garcia. It fit into my (Kelty) pack, barely, and not where I wanted it to be. We've since bought the BearVault. Someone pointed out that it's lighter but bigger, and it won't fit into my pack. It straps on the outside with no problem, as there are plastic bumps on each side for strap guides, though I wish the bumps were a little bigger. My thought about putting other things besides food in them is that those things could pick up food odors and thus have to remain in the canister overnight. I've also wondered why not a smaller sized one, when someone reminded me that a smaller size may make it less bear proof. It is indeed a challege to pack, but see this site:

www.pcta.org/planning/ before_trip/health/canistercare.doc

Pete_Hickey
09-14-2004, 01:39 PM
The problem with me with those things, is that I'll have a hard time fitting one night's food in it.... Let's see.. My trip in a couple days.. A squash, a couple zucchinis, onion, pepper, a few tomatoes.. Things like that fill them up fast.

Mike D.
09-14-2004, 01:40 PM
The other things i put in are things that dont really maater on odor and you just keep them in the vault at night, like your cookware,stove,utensils,fuel canister, etc.

TCD
09-14-2004, 03:36 PM
Like an earlier poster, I have been to Yosemite a couple times. Many of the popular areas have steel bear lockers installed. These are permanent fixed installations and are very convenient. They are completely bearPROOF when properly closed, big (like a refrigerator) so several groups could share them, and cheap. I asked the DEC (I can't remember a name) why we don't install some of them at popular bear problem sites like Lake Colden. I was told that our hiking population wasn't educated enough, and might put trash in the lockers.

(The only drawback I can see to the Yosemite locker design is that they are dangerous to children, becasue they can't be opened from the inside (like an old refrigerator at a landfill). I would modify the design to include a latch on the inside.)

TCD

Holdstrong
09-14-2004, 04:55 PM
They really have to come up with a smaller cannister before I will consider carrying one. I don't even mind the weight, its the ridiculous bulk. Might as well put a pair of straps on it and use it as you day pack.

How 'bout a half size can?

1ADAM12
09-14-2004, 05:15 PM
Originally posted by Holdstrong
They really have to come up with a smaller cannister before I will consider carrying one. I don't even mind the weight, its the ridiculous bulk. Might as well put a pair of straps on it and use it as you day pack.

How 'bout a half size can?

Holdstrong,

They make carry pouches for them which I have and make all the difference in the world! I just attach the canister to the bottom of my pack where you would attach a tent. I even still have room for a tent and a sleeping bag.

ADAM

Holdstrong
09-14-2004, 05:48 PM
Yeah, I'll have to try one of the pouches before I write them off completely. Tho I normally do not lash things to the outside of my pack.

I got a chuckle out of the "population wasnt educated enough" response to bear lockers. Ok, so then educate people. In the case of bear lockers it isn't that hard to do. Just put a simple sign up letting people know where they are, why they are there and what not to put in them. The ADK's are so sign phobic sometimes. If it wasnt for a late nite visit from a ranger during my last trip to Marcy Damn a few years back I would have never known about the bear cables there - even tho my food was hung well, I wanted to use the cables once I knew about them. Why not put up a few signs and save this guy the hassle of checking every camp site or lean-to (not too mention inform the people he doesnt happen to catch)?

Especially since this is that big of an issue.

1ADAM12
09-14-2004, 05:57 PM
I totally agree about the educating of people....its not that hard...lol

NYBRAD
09-14-2004, 07:19 PM
I own the bear vault. Like said, the bumps allow it to be strapped outside the pack. It also keeps fragile items safe, and makes for a great stool.
I was slow to conform, but the advantages far out way the disadvantages.

They may stop bears, but I saw a Garcia that some sort of rodent chewed a hole into.

Pete_Hickey
09-14-2004, 07:41 PM
Originally posted by Holdstrong
They really have to come up with a smaller cannister before I will consider carrying one. ......
....
How 'bout a half size can?

Ain't gonna happen.
One of the things that makes a bear canister work is its size. It is too big for a bear to get his jaws around it. A b ears jaws could easily crush those things if they could get them around it.

Other features are no places to get claws in to rip it apart. It isn'T simply the fact that it is some kind of canister. Much of its design has function behind it.

Peakbagr
09-14-2004, 09:27 PM
The bear lockers are not the answer in the backcountry.
They will become trash cans. Folks will leave their leftovers in them and "forget" to visit the locker on their way out of the woods, making them unusable for those that follow.

I've said it before, its not a bear problem its a people problem and we all have to pay because of those who can't or won't learn to hang properly. Thats probably why it bugs some people.

stoopid
09-15-2004, 06:07 AM
I've been using the bear vault all summer, including this past weekend camping at Lake Colden (another hot-spot). Others in the area lost their dinner and/or food.

I strap it to the outside of my pack, putting my tent, stuff sack of clothes, and sleeping pad inside.

jbrown
09-15-2004, 06:18 AM
I fully 110% agree with Peakbagr. Consider this dead horse thouroughly beaten...

NYBRAD
09-15-2004, 06:35 AM
I wonder how long it will be before a pack company comes out with a pack that has some sort of pocket or sleeve that the canister fits into.
Or even a canister that can be split into to halves like those plastic easter eggs. That way, you could adjust it's size and it would pack better.
How about a pack that has 2 pockets on each side for each part of the can , when you get to camp they screw together to form the normal looking can..
There is a company making a Titanium can. It's also around 200 bucks.

spaddock
09-15-2004, 07:15 AM
Do you happen to know the company that makes the titanium canisters?

I did a google search and only found one reference of a canister made by a couple of Boeing engineers whos company never took off.


S.

lumberzac
09-15-2004, 07:38 AM
I carried a canister for the first time last weekend. While it would fit inside my Golite Race pack I wouldn't be able to fit much else in my pack. There is no way I'm stuffing my cloths and sleeping bag in with my food. I ended up putting it in a sack and strapping it to the daisy chain on the pack. While this worked, it liked to flop around a lot and got in the way when going under downed trees across the trail. I guess I'm going to have to not only buy a canister, but also a new larger pack that it will fit inside of.:(

Mike D.
09-15-2004, 07:43 AM
The expensive lightweight model is called a bearikade , not sure of spelling, could be barikade. Its made of some lightweight alloy and composite material.

ADKMan
09-15-2004, 07:53 AM
The Bearikade website is www.wild-ideas.net . They have two versions, the Weekender at 1.9 pounds and the Expedition at "just over 2 pounds". They are pretty pricey though. $195 for the Weekender and $245 for the Expedition.

Wild-Ideas.net (http://wild-ideas.net)

lumberzac
09-15-2004, 07:56 AM
Originally posted by ADKMan
The Bearikade website is www.wild-ideas.net . They have two versions, the Weekender at 1.9 pounds and the Expedition at "just over 2 pounds". They are pretty pricey though. $195 for the Weekender and $245 for the Expedition.

Wild-Ideas.net (http://wild-ideas.net)

They also have one that is smaller than the weekender that isn't on the website. You have to contact the company directly to get one.

Grumpy
09-15-2004, 08:17 AM
Originally posted by Peakbagr
The bear lockers are not the answer in the backcountry.
They will become trash cans. Folks will leave their leftovers in them and "forget" to visit the locker on their way out of the woods, making them unusable for those that follow.
Peakbagr, I think you are unduly pessimistic about the nature of people. I shudder to think what might have happened had an attitude like this prevailed when the great "if you carry it in, carry it out" campaign started in the 1960s. Talk about an uphill battle! Yeah, people still leave litter behind but things are a lot better now than they were, especially considering the vastly increased volume of hiker traffic.

Of course I know it's important to be realistic. But I think we should be careful that our reality checks become challenges to our problem solving capacity rather than barriers to progress.

Anyway, I'm not an advocate of lockers at the more remote places like Flowed Lands and Lake Colden, but they might be useful at places like Marcy Dam, where there can be more supervision.

By contrast, the canister is a nice, self-contained, convenient and evidently very effective approach, so I advocate that one.

I also wonder, at times, if the "no fires" rules should be revisited, to allow for disposal of food scraps and residues, and packaging by burning. The trash fire was a great adjunct to keeping our camps cleaned up and bear (and raccoon) free back in the dark ages. (And yes, we did sift through the ashes to recover aluminum scraps, etc., that were sanitized but not consumed in the fire.)


I've said it before, its not a bear problem its a people problem and we all have to pay because of those who can't or won't learn to hang properly. Thats probably why it bugs some people.
Old spiel. No sale.

The problem is both a bear problem and a people problem. And let's not forget that.

The bear's nature drives it to be an opportunistic feeder that will gravitate to where vittles are available in some abundance. I don't think it's much of a coincidence that bears were all but absent from and not much of a problem at all in the High Peaks "backcountry,"even at places like Lake Colden before town dumps were closed throughout the region. And, evidently (from what I read and hear), the High Peaks bears are pretty smart and enterprising -- smart and enterprising enough to have learned how to defeat most or all bear bag hanging systems that have been used in their raiding area.

The people component is driven at least as much by the vastly increased number of people who venture out into the boonies these days, as compared to decades ago, as it is by the laziness and ineptitude of the venturers.

I don't like to see more and more regulation burdening the activity of hiking in the Adirondack High Peaks (or anywhere else). But I think the bear canister rule is one that's time has come. So let's just get behind it and look forward to diminished bear problems (and "people problems," if you insist) in the High Peaks during years ahead.

G.

WalksWithBlackflies
09-15-2004, 08:32 AM
Originally posted by Holdstrong
I don't even mind the weight, its the ridiculous bulk
That's exactly my problem with them. Since I live about 3.5 hours from the Adks, I often drive to the mountains the evening before a hike. I cram a sleeping bag and bivy sack and some cold food into my daypack, find a bivy spot or lean-to, and I'm set to go the next day. Many of these hikes are loops or involve bushwhacking. I bought my bivy sack exactly for this purpose.

I obviously can't fit a bear canister in my daypack along with the other necessities (and I'm not stuffing a bag in a canister with food). So now I either need to bring my backpack, or attach a daypack-sized canister to my daypack. That should make for some interesting travel on herpaths or bushwhacks.

Instead of purchasing/renting a canister and lugging it around with me, I'll probably just end up bivying in the middle of nowhere like the outlaw I'll become. Doesn't matter that I've never lost a bag to bears.

I'm also wondering if the DEC has thought through another problem with the canisters.... they'll work. Now you're gonna have a large population of 300-600 lb animals accoustomed to people that won't have enough of the food that they've grown dependent on. On whom do you think they'll take their frustration out when the hunger pains begin?

Tuco
09-15-2004, 08:36 AM
I used a canister on the recent 4 day trip to the Whites with Jay, although it wasn't necessary. Carried it in my pack since Jay was carrying the tent. Does crowd the pack, but I added things like gas, stove, spoon, etc. I kind of like the organization it brings to food and food prep items. For very short trips I would keep additional things in it- you could put them in baggies if concerned about smell. If you have food items that can't be shoved in lest they be crushed, could be a problem, depending on length of trip.

Its also useful as a seat when closed if desired.

If carrying a tent, I think strapping it to the pack would have been necessary.

Overall, I like the idea, and if the regulations are in, what I think doesn't matter anyway:D

Mark
09-15-2004, 12:19 PM
Originally posted by rico
I'm also wondering if the DEC has thought through another problem with the canisters.... they'll work. Now you're gonna have a large population of 300-600 lb animals accoustomed to people that won't have enough of the food that they've grown dependent on. On whom do you think they'll take their frustration out when the hunger pains begin?
I'm not a bear expert, but I don't think bears are spiteful creatures who will retaliate if bear canisters become mandatory. Unless the bears get 100% of their food from camp raids, they already know how to forage for food. (They raid camps because itís an easy meal.) If the food source in camps dries up due to canister use, I imagine the bears will revert to their natural feeding behavior.

Iím sure there are periods now where the campers around Marcy Dam and Lake Colden are extensively using canisters and/or hanging proper bear bags and the bears come away empty handed.

The expected reaction of the bears is also something the DEC can predict by looking at other areas of the country that have implemented bear canister requirements.

WalksWithBlackflies
09-15-2004, 12:46 PM
Animal populations will generally grow/decline in direct proportion to the amount of available food (think about lemmings as an extreme example). Since campers have been feeding the bears for many years, there are too many bears for the amount of "natural" food in the area. Take the food away, and you're gonna have some starving bears. Not saying that the bears will be acting with malice, but they equate people with food, and will come looking to them for "handouts"... and they'll get aggressive when they don't receive any.

I guess we'll find out next summer/fall.

Bushwacked
09-15-2004, 01:28 PM
Personally, I like the idea of food lockers that are bear proof at the high-traveled areas (maybe all designated areas).

I think 1) you're more likely to have people use those versus expecting 100s of hikers to all have cannisters in their groups 2) they are actually bear proof and 3) A-holes who leave garbage in them are the sam a-holes that pull other stupid stunts (like leaving their garbage at sites, etc).

Another alternative is the use of food poles (Canadian Rockies near Banff use these). along the lines of the Marcy cables, but up, not out. More useful at some backcountry sites, aesthetics notwithstanding.

WalksWithBlackflies
09-15-2004, 01:33 PM
Ahhhh... that explains why more bears break into camps, etc. during years of drought. Looking for Visa receipts.

Remix
09-15-2004, 02:06 PM
So, cannisters are going to be required....

Lets start a pool to predict when the first thread gets posted next year involving a ranger and hiker camping without a cannister . :)

Im gonna say Dec 20th of this year for the hiker without snowshoes and the ranger thread. :)

(pssst ... On the internet, no one knows your a bear)

rhihn
09-15-2004, 03:35 PM
Another alternative is the use of food poles (Canadian Rockies near Banff use these). along the lines of the Marcy cables, but up, not out. More useful at some backcountry sites, aesthetics notwithstanding.

I was wondering if anyone would be mentioning these. The only place I've ever experienced one is in Gros Morne, Newfoundland. A long pole was provided to hoist your food bag on a metal spoke of a tall, metal pole, something like the spokes of an umbrella. At the time they struck me as being an excellent idea.

lumberzac
09-15-2004, 03:52 PM
Originally posted by rhihn
Another alternative is the use of food poles (Canadian Rockies near Banff use these). along the lines of the Marcy cables, but up, not out. More useful at some backcountry sites, aesthetics notwithstanding.

I was wondering if anyone would be mentioning these. The only place I've ever experienced one is in Gros Morne, Newfoundland. A long pole was provided to hoist your food bag on a metal spoke of a tall, metal pole, something like the spokes of an umbrella. At the time they struck me as being an excellent idea.

A good idea, but why would the state spend the money to install these when they can make campers spend money to buy canisters?

I think whether we like it or not we will have to get use canisters if we want to camp in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness.

Holdstrong
09-15-2004, 04:00 PM
A good idea, but why would the state spend the money to install these when they can make campers spend money to buy canisters?

But I wonder how much the state will have to spend on proper enforcement of the canister policy.... or which programs and efforts will be ignored while rangers focus on it's enforcement.

And if they dont plan on properly enforcing it, well then, we'd be right back where we started.

I still can't help but think that a more thoroughly thought out and well implemented self storage effort (like lockers, or cables, or poles) would save money and regulation hassles... while achieving the same level of protection.

I can only assume that the powers that be have taken all of these questions into consideration, and even though it doesnt seem like the best solution to me, it may very well be just that.

ALGonquin Bob
09-15-2004, 09:56 PM
The canister that I've been renting for all my overnight trips over the past year fits well inside my pack. I just stuff other items inside to fill it, so as not to have any wasted space in there. If you buy one of the bags/cases for your canister, remove it before you stash the barrel overnight, so the bear doesn't have so much to grab onto. And you'll be able to find it in the morning.

As much as I don't like another rule being imposed, I think that this will work. Be prepared to be fined, or even told to hike out if you ignore this new requirement. We'll be sure to see many more discussions like this through next year, when this new mandate is imposed on the hiking public.

By the way, although there won't be bears to worry about in the winter, our friend the Pine Marten will be happy to steal your food from improperly stored bags. I may still use a canister just to prevent nibbling by other forest creatures.

stoopid
09-15-2004, 11:36 PM
Originally posted by AlG
Be prepared to be fined, or even told to hike out if you ignore this new requirement. We'll be sure to see many more discussions like this through next year, when this new mandate is imposed on the hiking public.

I agree, much more will be made of this in the coming months.

Just a note, I don't bring my wallet or any form of id. Not that I expect to cause trouble, but rather... this past weekend I camped about 200-300 feet from the leanto, nowhere's near water on a level piece of land in the Lake Colden area. I completely forgot about the 'camp where designated' rules in certain spots when I setup camp (and will note this next time I'm in a high traffic zone)...

So I come back from hiking Saturday to a red ticket warning me about not camping in a designted spot. Now, I'm a VERY responsible camper, even thought enough to bring a bearcan for my own protection, and the benefit of the bear. I even take out trash I see along the trail. Granted, a ranger doesn't know this, but I would think they have more critical things to focus on in that area then me finding a perfect fine, non-impacting place to camp that just doesn't happen to have a yellow disc nearby :rolleyes: .

So, I didn't move and was told afterwards that they were even near my tent later that night while I was asleep, but I wasn't ticketed. Funny, if it was important enough to warn me why not ticket me? Is it suddenly NOT important?

Rules are meant to protect us from ourselves, but I think alot of enforcement is ego and not genuine concern. In the time the ranger took to write me the love note about my choice of camping spot that would have been legal in 95% of the rest of the park, they could have been doing anything else more useful.

Point of mentioning not carrying my wallet/id? I want to see them drag me miles through the woods to a patrol car and haul me away. If they bother you (like I felt I was in my above example), simply sit on the ground and tell them to carry you to jail. If they woke me from my slumber to tell me to move I would have had some choice words before zipping the door to my 2 man tent closed. Maybe I'm disrespectful or have issues with authority, but when you nit-pick you automatically lose some credibility in my eyes.

If the rangers/dec are going to enforce the cannister law in the same manner they are enforcing other things now, they're going to ruin the entire point. Check people heading in at all major trail heads. Once on the trail/at camp, there isn't anything anyone can really do (that won't create awkward situations where authority is challenged/diminished or people's enjoyment of the weekend ruined).

Raise people's awareness to how it helps us AND the bears. But for heaven's sake, don't use it as an excuse to harrass the people that ensure your job's security by using the park you're paid to maintain.

[I hope this sounds sincere. I don't want to cause a fuss, but I think we surrender too many rights to regulations and the last place I expect to be told that my 'salad fork is on the right' is in the middle of nowhere!]

masshysteria
09-16-2004, 07:16 AM
In case no one noticed, Pandora's Box has now been officially opened!
After talking for an hour with the Wildlife officer on Monday at The Garden, I came away with some definite opinions about bears;
1) Bears are not the problem, WE ARE!
2) The bears are not going to suffer because we took away one of their opportunistic sources of food. Bears are omnivores, they will eat anything. The bears will suffer when they loose all fear of humans, and then two things will happen. First, the bear will come too close to a persons safe-space, and the Wildlife officer will have to cull that bear. Second, the bears lack of fear for a human will result in it being lined up in the sights of a hunter's rifle.
3)The bear bag thing just isn't cutting it. I venture to guess that all of the people on this forum know how to properly hang a bag. But we are all small percentage of the population who uses the ADKs. The majority of the rest of the users do not. I saw that this weekend with a group who didn't hang their food, and a group who hung it very improperly. Every one of them went hungry that weekend.
4) I, for one, will have no problem conforming to a bear canister regulation. I'll make do with carrying a bulky piece of equipment, we all will. And let's face it, I'm getting tired of having to throw ropes through trees so that I can eat the next morning. In all the years of camping and hiking in the ADKs and the Berhshires, I have never had a bear problem. I don't do anything to attract their attention.
5) The EnCon and Wildlife officers both informed me that there will be penalties for failing to follow these rules,if they go into effect. A fine of anywhere from $0 to $250, and they even suggested that flagrant violators in high use areas like Marcy Dam and Lake Colden may have their food removed and brought to the Ranger Station. There you can pick it up when you can show that the right steps are being taken to prevent a 'bear problem'. This may sound a little Draconian. No one likes Big Brother breathing down their necks, but something has to be done. We didn't complain too much when they made you fill out a use permit everytime you go out. Nor when they made camping above 3500ft illegal, or outlawed fires. I think this is a small price to pay for the continued use of our outdoor assets.

The guy who can set up a canister rental business is going to make a pretty penny!

Silverback
09-16-2004, 08:04 AM
Originally posted by stoopid


So, I didn't move and was told afterwards that they were even near my tent later that night while I was asleep, but I wasn't ticketed. Funny, if it was important enough to warn me why not ticket me? Is it suddenly NOT important?

Rules are meant to protect us from ourselves, but I think alot of enforcement is ego and not genuine concern. In the time the ranger took to write me the love note about my choice of camping spot that would have been legal in 95% of the rest of the park, they could have been doing anything else more useful.

Point of mentioning not carrying my wallet/id? I want to see them drag me miles through the woods to a patrol car and haul me away. If they bother you (like I felt I was in my above example), simply sit on the ground and tell them to carry you to jail. If they woke me from my slumber to tell me to move I would have had some choice words before zipping the door to my 2 man tent closed. Maybe I'm disrespectful or have issues with authority, but when you nit-pick you automatically lose some credibility in my eyes.

If the rangers/dec are going to enforce the cannister law in the same manner they are enforcing other things now, they're going to ruin the entire point. Check people heading in at all major trail heads. Once on the trail/at camp, there isn't anything anyone can really do (that won't create awkward situations where authority is challenged/diminished or people's enjoyment of the weekend ruined).

Raise people's awareness to how it helps us AND the bears. But for heaven's sake, don't use it as an excuse to harrass the people that ensure your job's security by using the park you're paid to maintain.

[I hope this sounds sincere. I don't want to cause a fuss, but I think we surrender too many rights to regulations and the last place I expect to be told that my 'salad fork is on the right' is in the middle of nowhere!]

So, I guess every individual can set the parameters of each rule? When does enforcing camping in non-designated spot go beyond nitpicking? when does a container become non-conforming? at what point does exceeding the speed limit really become speeding? If I decide to camp on your lawn, why should you care? Just another stupid law, right? I mean all land should be free to use as anybody sees fit, yes?.

This problem came about because individuals made decisions to violate either the rule of law or the "rule of responsible camping" Attitudes like "that doesn't apply to me", or "my way of hanging a bag is fine', or "I can camp where I want to and no one is going to tell me what to do" have a tendancy to multiply, and ultimately bring us over the line. I posted a message in this column 5 years ago warning about the attitude of campers at Marcy Dam, that seems very similar to yours. They decided that they were responsible campers and knew what was right as well. I predicted that it was only a matter of time before we had major problems with the bear, and would have to deal with canister regulations. I got creamed in this forum, because everyone knew they had the right way to do things and that the Adirondack bears were not a threat (apparently, the ADK bears went to a different school than the rest of their species).

Trust me, I hate additional regs as much as the next guy, maybe more so. The fact is, however, the more we think we are defending "the cause" by practicing "civil disobedience", the more likely, we will get more regulations to deal with the scofflaws. Feel free to do your "sit-in". Tie up more Rangers time, so they have to hire more. Get prepared to pay a hefty "user's fee" to pay for those rangers.

You said it yourself, "rules are meant to protgect us from ourselves". Let's not shoot ourselves in the foot by stretching these rules and inviting more.

stoopid
09-16-2004, 08:30 AM
Silverback, while I agree that we need regulation, I think the use of exagerration in your post doesn't help 'the cause'. You also conveniently dodged a few of my key points for sake of trying to tackle the more grey areas of my post. [classic "look at the rabbit!" diversion]

Unless your front lawn is in the adirondack high peaks or wilderness area, I'm likely NOT interested in camping there. If I exceed the speed limit it's a personal safety choice. Excessive speed accounts for a very small percentage of 'other driver' fatalities. 99% of the time someone speeding harms only the speeder. The law enforcement agencies are supposed to issue tickets as a deterrent, but more often it becomes a source of funding and justification. For example, I received a moving violation recently. Between lawyer and court fees it cost me $300 to fight it. Someone else got rich, not I... and I was innocent and just defending my rights!

A non-conforming cannister will need to be clear to all those entering high bear traffic zones, and the enforcement of the rules is going to inevitably cause the management to increase the number of rangers in the high peaks area (no other choice if they want the rules to be taken seriously). This will happen regardless of my attitude on the matter, and as I explained it will need to happen at the trail heads and not at the camps/leantos.

Law enforcement officers have a right to interpret the rules any means they see fit. I recently shared that I passed a ranger wearing crampons while decending Algonquin last February and they didn't say a thing because the trail was rock solid (I could have bare-booted the trail was THAT hard). I had my snow shoes with me, so if I needed them I had them. Here's an example of exercising good judgement on that ranger's part. They could have stopped me and issued a ticket right then and there, or told me to put the snowshoes on, but an intelligent decision was made based on the trail conditions. It's that same intelligence that was lacking this past weekend in my camping example. While I could have moved my camp site Saturday it was obvious that someone was exercising their ticket book and not their brains, which would also explain why no ticket was issued in my defiance -- the ranger knew all along that they were issuing the warning out of spite and not because of an elevated sense of preservation.

I feel the more self-governence, the less rules and rule enforcers. I guess that's why there's more than one political party, brand of soda, shoe size. To each their own, but don't impose your own on me ;).

mavs00
09-16-2004, 08:52 AM
//-- Change in wording --//

Who cares about the damn bears. I just don't want to go hungry.

Just Kidding, I agree, is a sad state of affairs, but if the end result is that most bears will EVENTUALLY return to thier more natural food sources and thus, be spared the "firing squad", than I'm for it.

My first statment was joke, but truth be told, on a backpack, food protection is very important. It's the fuel that allows the adventure to continue. It's more important to than most people think.

I watched my son, get hyperglycemic (no he's not diabetic) after hiking (in the Sewards) a good part of the day without proper nutrition. A lack of proper nutrition will impair judgement, cause excessive fatique and has a hugely negative impact on performance. Impaired judgement and excessive fatique leads to accidents in the backcountry. It's up there in importance with dehydration in my book. A raided and detroyed food cache, in most cases, ENDS (or modifies) a backpacking trip for my family, particularly if a difficult hike was planned for the next day.

So yes, it's for the bears first (and rightly so), but it is also has a very important value to you, the hiker. Pack the damn canister, for the cute fuzzy bears and to ensure you fuel the machine that you will soon ask to do (questionable insane) physical activities.

Besides, how many times have you shared your valuable food and/or water to ill prepared hikers (with no food/water) in the past. Of course we'll do it, and keep doing it, but ain't it annoying :mad:

Grumpy
09-16-2004, 09:01 AM
Well stated, Tim!

I think you hit the real points on this.

G.

spaddock
09-16-2004, 09:10 AM
Originally posted by stoopid
If I exceed the speed limit it's a personal safety choice. Excessive speed accounts for a very small percentage of 'other driver' fatalities. 99% of the time someone speeding harms only the speeder.


I really hope you don't ever have to explain your actions to that 1% of the population. Ask Danny Heatley what he thinks of speeding now...


S.

Silverback
09-16-2004, 09:15 AM
Stoopid. The front lawn thing was a bad analogy, perhaps, so I'll kill that rabbit.

To say that following the speed limits is a "personal safety choice" strectches credulity and ignores the facts. Statisically, a significant number of fatalities are related to excessive speed. Do your passengers get to vote on your "safety choice"? Do the occupants of the other vehicles get a say in your "safety choice"? You would put all these people at risk because you believe that your opinion of the proper speed is a "personal safety choice"? If you only wreck your car, or suffer severe injuries because of your "choice", I still have to pay for that choice through higher insurance bills and medical insurance costs. I have to pay for the public servants to scrape you and your vehicle off the road.

My ultimate point was, which you conveniently chose to ignore, was this: If all individuals decided to make their own "choices" on the proper application of the laws/rules or whatever, the result will be either destruction of a valuable resource, or a need to "super-regulate" it to protect it.

The very fact that we have this issue with canisters is proof of that. All those "personal choices" have led to habituated bears and another regulation.

mavs00
09-16-2004, 09:23 AM
If I exceed the speed limit it's a personal safety choice. Excessive speed accounts for a very small percentage of 'other driver' fatalities. 99% of the time someone speeding harms only the speeder. The law enforcement agencies are supposed to issue tickets as a deterrent, but more often it becomes a source of funding and justification.

Sorry, can't pass this one up.

I work in the Law Enforcement / Medical Examiner field and I can tell you, with certainty, that EXCESSIVE SPEED is a significant factor in ALL Motor Vehicle Fatalities NATIONWIDE. And there is significant data to back that up.

Go -HERE- (http://www-fars.nhtsa.dot.gov/) and download "Traffic Safety Facts 2002 - Speeding" (towards the bottom) for more info.

Another thing, the purpose for speed control measures (i.e. tickets) used by Law Enforcement is not REVENUE PADDING, it's an attempt to stem the over $40 BILLION economic cost of speed related accidents each year in the US.

That's not conjecture that's fact..........

SherpaKroto
09-16-2004, 09:24 AM
I carried a canister for the first time this summer (Bear Vault) in my pack. No big deal, but it did add the 2.5 lbs. The peace of mind that I had while hiking made it worth it. Just my personal observation - no comment on the regulations.

percious
09-16-2004, 09:27 AM
I think it is very easy for this topic to become political. My question to you guys is: Of those of you who have lost food to the bears, how many of you carry those blasted containers around now?

I have had my cache stolen. I carry a bear container now. Much easier, and I sleep better at night, knowing my breakfast is safe, and my trip is not in jeopardy. I could care less what others do.

-percious

WalksWithBlackflies
09-16-2004, 09:32 AM
Does anyone know the geographical extent of the regulation? All of the park... high peaks only... etc?

spaddock
09-16-2004, 09:46 AM
I often finish hikes pretty late at night, it's been as late as 3am.

Taking a canister is much easier since I don't have to throw rope at that hour and wake everybody else up with my swearing when I get hit in the head with the rope on its way down.

Chuck the canister in the bush, go to sleep, so much easier. Plus on short trips I've eliminated the weight of my rope, beaner, and food stuff sack. I'm a pretty big guy, 2 or 3 lbs is not going to break this camels back.

Not to mention for most of my overnight adventures I hike in (normally not more than 4 or 5 miles) set up camp and fastpack up the summits.


S.

TCD
09-16-2004, 10:05 AM
I've camped in the Adirondacks for years, hung my food, and never had it taken. But I do see plenty of "bear hangs" that are very inadequate (if I can stand on the ground and reach up and touch the food bag, then the bear can get it easily).

But the convenience of simply tossing the canister in the brush, as someone mentioned, just about has me sold. It IS hard to set up a good bear hang by headlamp! I'll probably pick up a canister for next year.

But let's start a thread on over regulation, under resourcing of Rangers, and selective enforcement. It could be fun!

TCD

spaddock
09-16-2004, 10:19 AM
A bear canister even saves me weight in the ADK's in a sense. If I'm hiking to say Lake Colden but on the way I want to bag Phelps and Tabletop, I'm WAY more likely to carry all my food to the top instead of hanging it at the turn off. Dumping the canister off trail and coming back for it is much easier.

I can keep up a good jogging pace on the flats or even slight elevation with a "heavy" pack, once I get to the steeps is where I start feeling the weight big time.


S.

rhihn
09-16-2004, 11:00 AM
I think it is very easy for this topic to become political. My question to you guys is: Of those of you who have lost food to the bears, how many of you carry those blasted containers around now?


Good point...reminds me of the old saying that the definition of a conservative is a "liberal who's been mugged." We have only been using a canister for a little over a year now. When we first started using it, we were stashing our food, but still hanging our garbage. I was chastised by a couple of people on this forum (rightly so, I think) for considering garbage "less important" than food when it comes to bears. We now sometimes actually carry TWO canisters and stash all garbage. Admittedly there are two of us. It's forced us to re-think food (and sometimes get a good home-dehydrated meal out of it!), but we still sometimes have difficulty getting the garbage/food ratio right. But finding the right tree and location for a hang, the annoyance of forgetting something and having to retrieve it, etc...for us, nothing beats the convenience and peace of mind of canisters, once we're at camp.

rdl
09-16-2004, 11:52 AM
After 25 years of hiking/camping in the Adirondacks I have never lost food to bears. I attribute that to the much easier pickings that are out there from badly hung food bags or people just throwing their food bags in the brush. But that didn't stop me from buying a bear canister this spring. The problem that has developed over the years is not going to go away next year once more people start using canisters -- this will be a gradual process and probably will never be eliminated -- look at Yosemite for an example.

I think the time saved by not hanging a food rope anymore will be offset by time spent figuring out the best way to pack food in the canister.

Regarding enforcement at interior sites, simple solution from the rangers perspective: they radio their conterpart at the trailhead who is then waiting for you when you hike out. Witnessed this situation with someone who had started a fire at Marcy Dam this August. I was signing in at the Loj trailhead when a ranger approached two people who were signing out and asked if they were the ones who had a fire at Marcy Dam. I guess they could have lied and said no, but I assume the interior ranger had given a pretty good description of the culprits. So a ticket ensued for these campers. But what's the point of the civil disobediance ? What satisfaction is gained from it ? If it's just ignorance then accept the regulations and move on.

Remix
09-16-2004, 12:05 PM
I know I am drifiting away from the thread topic, but do the people who frequent Marcy and other bear-active sites keep a set of clothes for eating and another set for everything else?

Trail Boss
09-16-2004, 12:46 PM
After a hiatus of nearly a year, I thought it was time to return to VFTT and see what's new in the ADKs. Same old problems, more new rules.

The situation has degraded since my first hike in 1979 and I place the blame squarely on the shoulders of everyone who visits the ADK park. I include myself even though I've never:

- lost food to bears
- shat in a stream
- camped illegally (except for my very first trip)
- burnt wood that was 'live and up'
- left more than footprints
- etc

I've made an effort to observe every guideline designed to preserve the park for future generations (and myself) to enjoy.

If eveyone had made the same effort, we'd need fewer restrictions on our current activities. But we didn't, and it is unlikely we ever will, so the guidelines proliferate.

Am I happy about having to lug around the deadweight of a canister?
No, especially because I've never lost food to bears.

Will I use a mandated canister?
Yes, because it helps to protect the bears from us (you read that right).

At the very least, we should strive to preserve the current state of the park's character for another 25 years. Any improvements would also be welcome.

spaddock
09-16-2004, 01:06 PM
AlpineSummit's post was so refreshing, seems everybody else here are perfect little angels.


S.

lumberzac
09-16-2004, 01:33 PM
I guess the thing that aggravates me the most about this whole issue isnít the canisters them selves. Itís that fact that things have gotten so bad that they are now required. There real is no sense fighting the issue, canisters will be required next year. Should I decide to camp in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness (which Iíve only done three times in the 20 years Iíve been backpacking), Iíll be carry a canister. Whatís the point of fighting over this with a ranger? They didnít make the rules; they just have to enforce them. And it isnít there job to be traffic cop. They are there to protect the park; so let all help make that job easier for them to do.

Grumpy
09-16-2004, 01:36 PM
Y'know, in all this wonderfully philosophical discussion about the bear canister business, I haven't yet seen the text of the proposed regulation. I find reference to it through the NY DEC web site, but no specific verbiage. Can anyone post the actual proposed language here, please?

Thanks.

G.

lumberzac
09-16-2004, 01:40 PM
Grumpy, I don't have a link to the actual document, but after talking to a ranger last weekend, it looks like the regulation will be almost identical to the regulations out west. I do know that the regulation is only for the Eastern High Peaks, the same area that is covered by the no fires regulation.

ALGonquin Bob
09-16-2004, 02:01 PM
Since the new mandate won't apply until next year, it may not have been officially worded yet. We have all winter to discuss and debate this before it actually applies. It won't affect me at all, since I already carry my food in a canister.

To quote a infamous lawbreaker: "It's a good thing".

percious
09-16-2004, 02:10 PM
does anyone find it ironic that fires usually keep animals away?

-percious

lumberzac
09-16-2004, 02:14 PM
Originally posted by percious
does anyone find it ironic that fires usually keep animals away?

-percious

That is rather ironic, but I'm glad the fire ban is there. One look at the trees by Lake Colden and you will notice that most don't have any low limbs, because campers removed them for there fires.

stoopid
09-16-2004, 02:20 PM
Originally posted by mavs00
I work in the Law Enforcement / Medical Examiner field and I can tell you, with certainty, that EXESSIVE SPEED is a significant factor in ALL Motor Vehicle Fatalities NATIONWIDE. And there is significant data to back that up.

Go -HERE- (http://www-fars.nhtsa.dot.gov/) and download "Traffic Safety Facts 2002 - Speeding" (towards the bottom) for more info.

Another thing, the purpose for speed control measures (i.e. tickets) used by Law Enforcement is not REVENUE PADDING, it's an attempt to stem the over $40 BILLION economic cost of speed related accidents each year in the US.

That's not conjecture that's fact..........

I realize those numbers, but I posted a fact about those numbers (in order to trump silverback's analogy, as speeding has nothing directly to do with bearcans):


99% of the time someone speeding harms only the speeder.

It's semantics, but I was specific for a reason -- if my actions likely only affect me, then fine -- it's my choice. Silverback was equating speeding to not bringing a bearcan -- two different issues -- me speeding will likely only impact me, but not following the bearcan regulation increases the odds of my food being eaten (impacting me) AND the bear being 'trained'/rewarded to do it again.


Originally posted by Silverback My ultimate point was, which you conveniently chose to ignore, was this: If all individuals decided to make their own "choices" on the proper application of the laws/rules or whatever, the result will be either destruction of a valuable resource, or a need to "super-regulate" it to protect it.

The very fact that we have this issue with canisters is proof of that. All those "personal choices" have led to habituated bears and another regulation.

Since I'm new to hiking (only about 2 years) it wasn't MY choices that caused this, and it wasn't my parents that had black slaves :rolleyes: ... so don't tread on me! :p

Part of my issue is with HOW it's being enforced. I argue that IF you're going to enforce the rules, then do so with an iron fist. Don't warn me, then when I ignore the warning in defiance not ticket me. It diminishes your credibility and brings to light your true motives for ticketing were out of ego and not your duty. To enforce this it's going to need to be done either at the gate or through a social reform among all hikers. Problem is, we can't all agree to the necessity, and not everyone even cares enough to be bothered.

I like percious's point about those who've had their food stolen and are they carrying a can now... while I voluntarily dished out $80 not everyone will (some won't even be bothered with the $5/weekend rental fee). THESE are the people who need to be targeted, but not at camp later on that day (as it's already too late), but either at the trail head or long before they even think about going camping in these areas through education and awareness.

percious
09-16-2004, 02:31 PM
Point well taken, but there are efforts underway to trail (educate) the populus. Last time I was down at Heart lake they had a tent on display that was less than adequate in the rain. (bear holes) They also had an olive jar that was no match for a bear.

We were stupid when we hung our bear bag, and did not defend our cache out of fear. We paid for it by hungrily carrying out 5 days of garbage over Algonquin. (Salvaging some part of the trip). So, the DEC is trying to educate people, and if that display at heart lake isn't enough to convince people, then the bears will, when they lose their food.

I imagine that once the reg. goes into effect people will stop talking about it and just follow suite. I just don't see what the whole contraversy is. I mean, do people complain about bear containers in the Sierras?

-percious

rdl
09-16-2004, 03:01 PM
I mean, do people complain about bear containers in the Sierras?

I think when people in the Sierras see car doors torn off by bears in search of food they realize that bear canisters are a good thing. I have friends who hike in the Sierra's on a regular basis and it's just second nature to take your canister. When the regulations were implemented they viewed it as long overdue.

I find it interesting on the Yosemite website that canisters are required within 7 linear miles of any trailhead. Are any campsites in the High Peaks beyond 7 linear miles of a trailhead ?

WalksWithBlackflies
09-16-2004, 03:04 PM
Originally posted by Percious
We were stupid when we hung our bear bag I believe this is exactly what Stoopid is talking about. Isn't there already a reg about properly securing your food, be it by hanging or another means? If a ranger saw your "stupidly" hung bag, he should have enforced the rule then and there... either by making you re-hang your bag or fining you.

Last year, I was at Uphill Lean-To... there were pinatas all along the trail. You could reach up and touch them. A ranger took the time to basically scold me on my late start up Skylight/Gray (which I easily summited and returned to camp by dusk without having to use the headlamp I showed the Ranger), but obviously did nothing to those who improperly hung their bags. The bears got every one of 'em. ENFORCE THE REG AS IT EXISTS. An excellent way to ensure compliance is a bear canister, but if I want to take the time to properly hang a bag, then let me.

percious
09-16-2004, 03:17 PM
I think when people in the Sierras see car doors torn off by bears in search of food they realize that bear canisters are a good thing.

We should be glad it didnt get to that in the adirondacks.

-percious

stoopid
09-16-2004, 03:50 PM
Originally posted by percious


We should be glad it didnt get to that in the adirondacks.

-percious

But I'd like to see a black bear ripping into my hyundai with a crowbar :p

NYBRAD
09-16-2004, 04:00 PM
Back in the late 70's I remember a pop up aluminum camper being torn open like a tuna can at Lake Eaton State campground.

Grumpy
09-16-2004, 04:03 PM
Originally posted by rico
. . . I believe this is exactly what Stoopid is talking about. Isn't there already a reg about properly securing your food, be it by hanging or another means? If a ranger saw your "stupidly" hung bag, he should have enforced the rule then and there... either by making you re-hang your bag or fining you.
This is a case in which -- forgive the metaphor -- the proof of the pudding is in the tasting.

What might appear to the gimlet-eyed and highly skilled or knowledgeable among us as an "improperly" hung bear bag that subsequently survives the night, must, by definition actually have been a properly hung bag. After all, it worked, so the owner should be applauded for demonstrating uncanny skill and genius rather than be ticketed for ineptitude.

Conversely, a supposedly expertly hung bag that gets torn up must be, by definition, improperly hung because it failed, and the owner should be ticketed, fined and drummed out of the corps for being a slovenly dunce.

The point is, you never really know for sure if the bag has been properly strung up until it's been put to the overnight test. Simple enough, right?

On the other hand a camp set up in a no camping zone is, by definition, unambiguously not in compliance. Campers who receive only a warning for such an infraction should (a) move their camp to a legal spot, forthwith; (b) assimilate the lesson; and (c) thank their lucky stars they have not been visited by Ranger Grumpy if they fail to do so.

Let's not allow our generally free-spirit inclination to resent authority get in the way of reason here. The bear canister regulation probably is overdue and evidently is coming. It most likely will specify that if you camp you use a can. That's pretty cut and dried. Let's pledge to help make it a success by complying on our own. Character is measured by how we behave when nobody's looking.

G.

WalksWithBlackflies
09-17-2004, 07:44 AM
Originally posted by Grumpy...a supposedly expertly hung bag that gets torn up must be, by definition, improperly hung...and the owner should be ticketedIf it gets torn up, it wasn't properly hung... thanx for making my point. We should each decide if we want to use a canister, hanging bag, or 30 layers of ziplock bags stashed behind a stump... but we should also be aware of the consequences. If I improperly hang a bag, fine me. If it happens enough (dependent on amount of the fine or my sense of environmental morality), I'll gladly take a canister with me. However, if my bags never get taken, then what's the harm?

All I'm saying is that we already have a reg in place... it just needs enforcement. Couple it with some education and maybe a sign at the trailhead stating the fine with an arrow pointing you to the nearest (optional) canister rental area.

Grumpy
09-17-2004, 09:13 AM
Originally posted by rico
All I'm saying is that we already have a reg in place... it just needs enforcement. Couple it with some education and maybe a sign at the trailhead stating the fine with an arrow pointing you to the nearest (optional) canister rental area.
Trouble is, the bears don't pay any attention to the regulation that now is in place. Nor do they seem to care much about what a nifty job somebody has done in hanging a bag. They just take what they can get at. (I say that for the benefit of those naive souls who insist on characterizing this as strictly a "people" problem.)

The thing is, current bear feeding regulations require that we humans behave "responsibly," which is defined by a negative outcome (an "unfed" bear) rather than by specific, concrete steps we must take to stay on the right side of the law. It is hard for me to imagine that most (or any) people who lose their chow to bears believe they are acting "irresponsibly" or deliberately setting out to feed the bears before it happens. The standard is ambiguous until an incident occurs and then they're left with "well, I guess that didn't work."

My guess is that adding a citation and fine to that disappointment and humiliation would only be gratuitous and mean spirited more than educational in most instances. So, like many of our other laws and regulations, this one as it exists provides a nice avenue for delivering punishment after the fact in egregious cases but does very little in the way of heading off incidents in the first place.

At one point in my checkered career I was involved in writing state level OSHA type standards -- regulations -- for protecting workers in a particular industry from on-the-job injury. This was interesting business. The final goal was, essentially, a negative outcome (no injuries, like an "unfed" bear) but our real task was identifying specific and concrete, positive actions to be taken (best practices) in reaching that goal. I don't think anybody on the industry side of the table (the side I was on) especially liked the idea of more regulations, but over time we all came to appreciate the real importance and value of spelling out just what was to be done in order to achieve compliance. It helped us achieve the common goal -- shared by government and industry interests alike -- of improved on the job safety for workers.

I relate this because I think the real thrust of the likely bear canister regulation is to provide concrete guidance for achieving the goal of not feeding bears in the High peaks boonies. Both compliance and enforcement are simplified because ambiguity is eliminated.

G.

Mark
09-17-2004, 09:20 AM
Could one of the bear bag experts who have never lost food to a bear please post the method they use to properly hang a bear bag? I'd like to know how to properly hang a bear bag so that I am guaranteed I will never lose food to a bear. Thanks!

hillman1
09-17-2004, 09:31 AM
The bears in the high traffic areas get properly hung food bags. They even get bags hung on the cables. People that have never lost food probably have avoided flowed lands, lake colden, and marcy dam. I've seen improperly hung bags make it through the night too. It's all moot now, the regulation will be in effect. I'm with alpinesummit on this one. I like the canister. Who wants to screw around hanging food after hiking 15 miles.

Mike D.
09-17-2004, 09:45 AM
After using a canister earlier this year on an adk. hike , I like the canisters simplicity , eat, close, toss in bush , have food in the morning. I saw a bear cable at marcy dam that was hung over a stump, I could stand on the stump and reach the cable, completely useless. I think the canisters are a good idea.

lumberzac
09-17-2004, 10:03 AM
Originally posted by Mark
Could one of the bear bag experts who have never lost food to a bear please post the method they use to properly hang a bear bag? I'd like to know how to properly hang a bear bag so that I am guaranteed I will never lose food to a bear. Thanks!

I don't normally camp at Marcy Dam or Lake Colden.

jbrown
09-17-2004, 10:12 AM
The first time I camped at Marcy Dam, my cousin and I hung our food on the cable over the spillway of the dam. We were lucky and our food was spared.

Several times I have camped at either Colden or Flowed Lands. We put our food in 2 stuff sacks, tied the necks together and lifted the bags over the horizontal cable with a big stick. Again, our food was spared.

Other times I have used various toss-the-rock-tied-to-the-rope-over-the-branch-and-try-not-to-hit-myself-in-the-head methods and have never had food stolen.

I probably fall in the category of knowing how to hang a bear bag properly, or thinking I do. The horizontally hung cables seem to be very effective when used properly.

There are too many hikers who either do not know how, or do not care to protect their food properly.

I like the canister idea. It's the only way to take care of the people problem and retrain the homo-sapiens.

mavs00
09-17-2004, 10:43 AM
And at the risk of sending it into a death spiral, here goes (powers that be.......that's not my intention :().

First.......

(in response to one of my earlier thread)I realize those numbers, but I posted a fact about those numbers (in order to trump silverback's analogy, as speeding has nothing directly to do with bear cans:


Your supposition that 99% of speeding fatalities effects only the non-compliant drivers IS NOT FACT, it's conjecture, and an incorrect one at that (see the link to NTSB report for actual data). It's impossible, therefore, to "trump" anyone with incorrect "factual" information.

Also, I think the analogy of speeding and bear cans is actually fairly decent. Both limit personal freedoms in the interest of the individual and society at large. The interest is of course, decided by "other people" (or the man, if you will) but its intended to provide protection for the individual (i.e. protecting oneself from a documented unsafe activity like speeding on the roadway or protects your personal food supply in a wilderness area), and thereís is also a intended greater societal benefit (i.e. protecting other road users from a documented unsafe activity like speeding and forcing bears to return to a non-human food source).

-------------------------

I think that some of us are thinking in an individual (how this effects me) way, and ignoring the "bigger picture" aspect. I get that sense from the "I've never had a bag stolen", "too many regulations for MY wilderness" comments. That's fine for some things, but I think that there are greater issues at play that have been deemed (by others) more important than just our individual interests. No suprise there, thats probably already happened to all of us several times today alone :)

After hearing some debate and listening to people are paid to think "whole picture". I think the problem of "Bears in the DAKS" is a much more significant problem than just a few raided bear bags at Marcy Dam. There's been an explosion in the bear population in the last decade or two, an explosion of overnight users, a several year drought (a few years back) that had a significant negative effect on the natural food sources for bears (and other critters). So it more complicated then just "bringing bear canister on overnight hikes" or retraining (or destroying) a few rouge bears. It could GET worse, they could legislate COMPLETE CLOSURE to certain wilderness campsites, like they did out west after several fatal Grizzliy attacks.

Wildlife/Wilderness Management cannot be an easy thing and there are probably tons of factors that are weighed in determining which regulations will help or not be effective in the almost impossible task of balancing our desire to use natural resources and the maintaining of the natural order of things.

One thing we can't argue about. There IS a problem with bears in the HP area. The canisters apparently are coming, that's been decided for us. Will it work? I guess time will tell.

THIS IS ALL CONJECTURE ON MY PART AND NOT BASED ON FACT OR SPECIAL INSIGHT. Just the ramblings of hiker that will attempt to comply as best I can. People much smarter than I are looking into it, I'm sure.

WalksWithBlackflies
09-17-2004, 11:13 AM
Mark -

I realize you're being sarcastic, but here it goes anyway:

1) DON'T BE LAZY. Give yourself enough time to properly scope out a suitable hanging site. Obviously, it is harder to find a good spot in the dark. Look at more that one possible site.
2) Understand the physical capabilities of a bear (sight, smell, climbing ability, gnawing, scratching, etc.). Use camoflaged bag (you can do this with marker... just to break up the solid color), put all food within zip-lock bags (double if it's smelly), use dark colored string/rope that can withstand biting/clawing. Also realize that the more energy a bear has to waste to get your bag, the less likely it is to pursue.
3) Walk 5 minutes away from camp... that'll be about 1/4 mile on easier terrain. When there aren't suitable sites, I've walked up to 10-12 minutes away.
4) Understand the physical characteristics of your chosen tree limb. Look for a high branch that is thin enough where it can't support a bear's full weight, but the bear can't easily break/gnaw through. Small cubs can make this tricky... gotta make them afraid to go out on the branch (downward sloping branches are great). Throw the string over AT LEAST TWO HIGH BRANCHES. If the bear breaks one, the bag is still secure. I like deciduous trees beacuse the leaves will help hide the bag and there are many small branches to "catch" the bag in case of a fall. I don't like the "bag between two trees" method... all a bear has to do is put his weight on the string and "SNAP".
5) Yes... the above is a PITA, especially after a long hike, but I sleep well knowing that a bear won't get my food. If you're losing sleep, you didn't hang your bag well.

Obviously, I can't GUARANTEE that a bear won't break into my bag (and there are reported cases of bears breaking into canisters). I'm sure some industrious bear will outwit me at some point, but I can confidently say that there wouldn't be a bear problem if people took the time and care to hang their food. That said, I'm afraid most people never will... hence the new reg. You guys are beginning to break me :(

ADKatie
09-17-2004, 11:33 AM
1) The bear canister serves as a LOVELY seat for you while you prepare/eat your meal

2) Scenario: You walk the 5 or 10 minutes from camp, in the dark, after hiking all day, go through the process to properly hang your bag like a pro, no bear can possibly get to it. Then you walk back to camp, so proud of your accomplishment and knowing you'll sleep well tonight and eat well tomorrow, only to find you forgot to put in your toothbrush and that Snickers bar that resides permanently in the bottom of your pack "for emergencies". Shoulda had the canister.....

It also makes a great way to carry out garbage or wet gear once you've eaten all the food!

WalksWithBlackflies
09-17-2004, 11:35 AM
LOL! Been there... done that :D

ADKatie
09-17-2004, 11:42 AM
What if you want to hang your cookware and dishes, maybe even dirty clothes? Is that allowed?

If the rangers are ticketing people, I'm guessing they check what's hung in the bag and only ticket for the ones containing food and garbage? Or are bear bags just plain gonna get you in trouble, even if they contain non-food items?

Just curious. I prefer to dayhike anyhow, but someday the Northville Placid trail is going to be my wilderness home for a few days, so this is relevant.

spaddock
09-17-2004, 11:49 AM
I know how to hang a bag, at least I think I do. I've probably hung a bag incorrectly before though. I really did want to give the "PCT" hang method a try, I posted the method a while back.

However, I can be pretty lazy and the idea of chucking the canister into the bush is just too nice and simple. I think all day at work, I think for a lot of time on my hikes, stuff like, am i gonna beat darkness? What did I forget? Is this rock or tree gonna hold me? By the time I get to camp I don't want to think anymore about stuff like, is this a good tree, are the branches suitable, is my bag high enough.... Chuck canister in bush, inflate sleeping mat, lay down sleeping bag, fall asleep just sounds too good to be true.

Rico, your process of hanging bags sounds very detailed, double branches and all. I admire the way you do it. Take a look at the PCT method and tell me what you think, you obviously have some idea what you are doing.


S.

Silverback
09-17-2004, 12:13 PM
Originally posted by mavs00
And at the risk of sending it into a death spiral, here goes (powers that be.......that's not my intention :().

First.......


Your supposition that 99% of speeding fatalities effects only the non-compliant drivers IS NOT FACT, it's conjecture, and an incorrect one at that (see the link to NTSB report for actual data). It's impossible, therefore, to "trump" anyone with incorrect "factual" information.

Also, I think the analogy of speeding and bear cans is actually fairly decent. Both limit personal freedoms in the interest of the individual and society at large. The interest is of course, decided by "other people" (or the man, if you will) but its intended to provide protection for the individual (i.e. protecting oneself from a documented unsafe activity like speeding on the roadway or protects your personal food supply in a wilderness area), and thereís is also a intended greater societal benefit (i.e. protecting other road users from a documented unsafe activity like speeding and forcing bears to return to a non-human food source).

-------------------------

I think that some of us are thinking in an individual (how this effects me) way, and ignoring the "bigger picture" aspect. I get that sense from the "I've never had a bag stolen", "too many regulations for MY wilderness" comments. That's fine for some things, but I think that there are greater issues at play that have been deemed (by others) more important than just our individual interests. No suprise there, thats probably already happened to all of us several times today alone :)

One thing we can't argue about. There IS a problem with bears in the HP area. The canisters apparently are coming, that's been decided for us. Will it work? I guess time will tell.



Ah, SOMEBODY understands my point.

Thanks Mavs, for making it clearer that my old muddled brain could.

I have been a fan of bear canisiters after spending 6 weeks in the Alaskan backcountry. Nothing more exciting/gratifying than listening to 1,000 pound grizzlies playing soccer with your food at night and waking to find it intact.

Any yes, they make excellent seats!

Willie
09-17-2004, 01:19 PM
Originally posted by Grumpy

... I think the real thrust of the likely bear canister regulation is to provide concrete guidance for achieving the goal of not feeding bears in the [High Peaks]. Both compliance and enforcement are simplified because ambiguity is eliminated.


Now that is logical and insightful rationale for making the current regulation more stringent.

ADKatie
09-17-2004, 01:27 PM
Alpine, I was thinking the same thing! If anyone coulda seen my quizzical look, head tilted to one side as I stared at it mere inches from my screen.

We can make a game of it, "What's Arm's avatar?"

To me it looks like some mossy growth in the middle of a brown tornado.

lumberzac
09-17-2004, 02:27 PM
Originally posted by AlpineSummit
Arm, what the heck are we looking at in your av?????

A newly discovered solar system perhaps?

I think it's looking through a hole up at a tree canopy.

Rik
09-17-2004, 02:32 PM
First let me say that, although it saddens me that it has come to this point, I think the cannisters are necessary in high traffic areas of the high peaks. We need to do something different than what is happening now. Every time I go into the woods I'm disgusted looking at broken food bags with nothing but wrappers, coffee, and toothbrushes. I think if we find a way to stop rewarding the bears for their efforts they will go elsewhere. I am also not sure that the bear population in the high peaks has significantly increased. It is my understanding from talking with some of the rangers, and we will know more once the current "collar and study" research is in, that most of the bears travel some distance to the high peaks during the summer months for food. Much as the grizzlies migrate during salmon runs. If there were no salmon the bears would stop going there and would find another food source. Just my two cents.

masshysteria
09-17-2004, 05:07 PM
Rico gave the best description of hanging a bear bag I've read anywhere. It's not nuclear science, just a little common sense.

But I think what hillman had to add was the most appropriate; don't stay at Marcy Dam, Lake Colden, or Flowed Lands. I don't like the crowds, so I don't stay at these places. It's worth it for me to hike another mile past MD and stay at the relatively quiet Avalanche Camp. I'm also not stupid enough to think that the same bear that had lunch at MD isn't going to saunter over to AC to inspect my dinner menu. I think that proper hanging, and staying away from the cafateria areas will keep my food for me.

One final tidbit, the Wildlife officer I talked with told me of the bears he was monitoring with radio collars. One of them, whom he calls green/blue,(the color of the tags in his ears) was sighted stealing food at JBL one day, and the next he was doing his larceny at Slant Rock. Plus he has monitored green/blue heading over to Upper Works to check things out there. He added that green/blue weighed about 350 lbs., and probably would end up in the hunter's sights because of his lack of fear of humans.

escapee
09-19-2004, 03:20 AM
I am a bear bag expert who has never lost a bag to a bear. I know how to hang a bag, and use a 2:1 pulley system to hoist bags up without breaking branches which will not support a bear cub. (THe rock-in-a-sock over the branch and brute force haul-up accounts for a lot of broken branches that could have supported a bag hung with more finesse.) Nonetheless, I cannot guarantee that a bear will not somehow bring it down.

After hanging a bag on a recent trip, I stood up on a fallen log beneath it to gauge the height off the ground, mindful of the illustration in the ADK High Peaks map of the mama bear with cub on shoulders. A fellow camper asked if I really thought the bears would figure out to stand on a log. I asked him if he had ever been to the circus, and this seemed to answer his question. They are smart, resourceful, and when hungry enough, there are no guarantees. I make it difficult enough so that they get no reward at my campsite to encourage them to return.

Artex
09-19-2004, 07:59 AM
Isn't the whole "well, I know how to properly hang a bear bag" point somewhat moot? I've also hung bear bags in bear country several dozen times, and never had a problem because apparently I did it right. That's great, but several people obviously aren't doing it right. It's only a matter of time before someone gets seriously hurt in a bear encounter, and in turn, the repurcusions won't be good for the bears. Mandatory bear canisters seems like the best solution to me.

Lumberzac, I think Pennsy was telling me you guys saw that the rangers in the Daks were "baiting" bears by leaving food out and shooting the bears with rubber bullets when they came in? I saw a story on the Discovery Channel where they were doing something similiar in Michigan with good results. I'm just glad they're getting serious about the issue.

Artex
09-19-2004, 08:32 AM
I didn't mean my last post as a dig at anyone. I just meant that I think it's best to focus on the best possible solution, and follow through. :)

mavs00
09-19-2004, 10:03 AM
Originally posted by Artex
It's only a matter of time before someone gets seriously hurt in a bear encounter, and in turn, the repurcusions won't be good for the bears. Mandatory bear canisters seems like the best solution to me.

Nor do I think that the repercusions would be all that good for the humans. I seem to recall reading that the typical reaction for past events (like out west) is not just to kill a bunch of the bears in the area, but also to CLOSE the area to camping for a period of time (months to years) to "protect" us.

You think that there's complaining about the canisters , imagine the uproar that would happen when they started telling you "No Camping" at Marcy Dam, Lake Colden or JLB.

Think it can't happen, look at all the former L/Ts and designated sites that were removed or closed for a heck of a lot more benign reason than "someone got ate by a bear there" :rolleyes:

Artex
09-19-2004, 10:09 AM
Originally posted by mavs00


I seem to recall reading that the typical reaction for past events (like out west) is not just to kill a bunch of the bears in the area, but also to CLOSE the area to camping for a period of time (months to years) to "protect" us.

You think that there's complaining about the canisters , imagine the uproar that would happen when they started telling you "No Camping" at Marcy Dam, Lake Colden or JLB.


I hadn't thought that far ahead. I imagine a lot of people would be ticked. It might be a good idea to start up a lean-to/tent campsite registration system if it came to that, like they do at Baxter State Park, for the rest of the High Peaks Region that would feel the squeeze. Just a muse.

Warren
09-20-2004, 07:21 AM
"My question to you guys is: Of those of you who have lost food to the bears, how many of you carry those blasted containers around now? "

The times I've been in the High Peaks since I lost food in '00, I've had a canister, but in general I've decided to avoid the area as much as possible outside of winter. Just too many signs of overuse, I enjoy myself much more in the lesser used areas.

For the bear box/ bear bag thing, I was a big advocate of bear boxes as they seemed to be a simple solution (ignoring cost) when you have a designated campsite only area. A poster mentioned his dislike of infrastructure in the backwoods reminding me my own dislike for infrastructure. Bear cans it is. I never thought the trash issue with bear boxes was a reason to rule them out, after all trails, lean to's, trail heads and summits all attract attract trash. People will be slobs however they want to be slobs.

As for the enforcement issues. The DEC in the Colden area has begun to post Rangers at popular camp spots for education and enforcement, Feldspar had a junior(?) ranger posted there at least one weekend this past summer for this purpose. Friendly, helpful, non intrusive. Good idea, I think. From what I've seen so far the goal is not to ticket but inform and change behavior. I'm pretty impressed with the DEC in this regard.

Anyway, there are millions of acres of non bear can needed wilderness in the Adirondacks for those who have issues with the can or a rule.

lumberzac
09-20-2004, 07:46 AM
Originally posted by Artex


I hadn't thought that far ahead. I imagine a lot of people would be ticked. It might be a good idea to start up a lean-to/tent campsite registration system if it came to that, like they do at Baxter State Park, for the rest of the High Peaks Region that would feel the squeeze. Just a muse.


It was really nice at Baxter to hike in and know that you had a lean-to to stay in, but it eliminates last minute trips. One of the things I enjoy with the Adirondacks is you can plan last minute trips. I donít have to plan a trip a year in advance just so you have a place to stay.

spaddock
09-20-2004, 08:18 AM
Exactly. I love the last minute trips, or the last minute route changes. I don't know what I'm doing 3 days from now let alone 3 months or a year.

Plus, if weather turns at the last minute and looks really bad I'll possibly cancel an outing. In the same way, if it turns for the better after a bad forecast I'll hop in the car and take off.


S.

hankmccain
09-20-2004, 11:50 AM
I never had a problem using bear bags but I figure it is best to stay one step ahead of the bears. I recently used a canister for the first time and I thought it was great. It fit nicely in my pack and was it was so easy to fill it up and toss it into the woods for the night. They also offer protection for the smaller varmints that can climb a bearbag rig and chew through the bag, leaving you with a nice hanging back of garbage.

masshysteria
09-20-2004, 01:49 PM
NOTE TO SELF;

Do NOT mess with Bruce's bear bag!

tonycc
09-21-2004, 02:20 PM
I've never lost food to a bear. I try to avoid bear problem areas.

I remember at a L/T in Shenandoah they had a metal bear pole that looked like an umbrella, it was a great system and I think that would help a lot. If these things were placed at all well used designated sites, bear problems could be significantly reduced.

I still remember note in the trail log at the L/T that highlighted why bear canisters are a good idea:
"Camped last night at big meadows. Bear tore two holes in my tent, one to get in, another to get out. The only things I had in there were a sleeping bag and a book. He must have been really interested in that book."

Due to poor behaviors by humans, bears have learned to find food by sight. They don't need to smell it first, "if I found food in a tent before might as well search every tent I see."

I've started carrying a canister, and I like them. My problem is I tend to go in larger groups and these things are too small and very expensive. Here (http://www.myccr.com/SectionShopping/Gear/GadgetsGizmos/bearkeg.htm) is a real nice unit, the bear keg. Not quite as large or light as the bearikade, but a lot lower price.

Tony

MBresle
09-23-2004, 02:53 PM
Originally posted by spaddock
If they make the cannisters mandatory, will they be mandatory in winter season as well?

S.


if you want, you can sleep with food in your tent in the winter. no bears; they're all doing their sleep thing.

*not that i advocate that, put in in your pack outside your tent*

Artex
09-23-2004, 03:25 PM
But then, you'll have some who guess incorrectly as to when the bears have decided to start or stop their hibernation. Even then, bears sometimes wake from hibernation and roam.

lumberzac
09-23-2004, 03:34 PM
Originally posted by MBresle



if you want, you can sleep with food in your tent in the winter. no bears; they're all doing their sleep thing.

*not that i advocate that, put in in your pack outside your tent*


Most of the time the bears are sleeping, but there are other critters that aren't.

spaddock
09-23-2004, 03:35 PM
I'll roll the dice on a roaming bear in February. Besides, at that time I'll have my ice axe. Sounds like Fox special waiting to happen.... :)


S.

rhihn
09-23-2004, 10:19 PM
I'm certainly no bear expert, but my understanding is that bears are not true hibernators, with a lower temperature and heart rate, unable to be aroused. Rather, they go into a state of dormancy in winter months. Some of their functions slow down, but they can and do move around in the winter months.

Grumpy
09-24-2004, 06:45 AM
Good summary information about New York bears is available at THIS LINK (http://www.dec.state.ny.us/website/dfwmr/wildlife/wildgame/BBNaturalhistory.pdf). See page 11 of the document for remarks about denning and hibernation.

In case the fancy version of this link doesn't work, here's theURL:

http://www.dec.state.ny.us/website/dfwmr/wildlife/wildgame/BBNaturalhistory.pdf

G.

BigAl
09-24-2004, 02:25 PM
Normally, I'm opposed to more governmental regulations, but I think this may be a good one. I hunt a lot...specifically, bow hunt for deer. I've seen on many occassions that their sense of smell is absolutely amazing, and my understanding is that a bear is even better. That being the case, regardless of what method, or how high, you hang your food, they can find it (naturally, wind currents have to help them). Then it just becomes a matter of them deciphering the hanging method; and I thiink they've just about seen them all. I think that when food is hung and not gotten into by the bears it's more luck than skill. Eventually, you'll lose.