Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 55

Thread: Mount Adams Firetower\Bear Canisters

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Albany, New York
    Posts
    3

    Mount Adams Firetower\Bear Canisters

    I am the real Neil Woodworth, Deputy Executive Director and Counsel for the Adirondack Mountain Club. This is my first post to any Views From The Top forum.

    Yesterday, the board of directors of the Adirondack Mountain Club unanimously passed a resolution which provides for the retention and maintenance of the Mount Adams fire tower after the balance of the 6000 acres is transferred to the state later this year for inclusion in the High Peaks Wilderness. The substance of the resolution is as follows:

    Mount Adams Fire Tower Restoration

    ADK supports a proposal to legally permit the existing fire tower to be retained and rehabilitated. Under the proposal, the half acre footprint of the fire tower would be retained by the current owner, the Open Space Institute (OSI), when the balance of the 6,000 acres is transferred to the state for inclusion in the High Peaks Wilderness.

    ADK's intention, as approved by its' conservation committee, executive committee and board of directors, is to ensure that the Mount Adams fire tower is reconstructed, restored and maintained without any time limit on the duration of said maintenance activities. However, if there comes a time in the future when no agency or group is willing to maintain the tower and keep it in a safe condition for public use, the tower should be removed and the half-acre footprint be conveyed to the state for inclusion in the Forest Preserve. No other development would be permitted on the half acre retained by OSI. The hiking trail to the fire tower would be in the High Peaks Wilderness and maintained as a marked foot trail.

    On another High Peaks issue, DEC is very seriously considering an emergency regulation that would compel the use of bear canisters for campers in the eastern high peaks, everywhere between Indian Pass and Route 73.

    DEC ranger and wildlife management staff would like to put this regulation into effect for the summer of 2004. No decision has been made to date by the DEC Executive level leadership. I would be very interested in your perspective.

    Neil Woodworth

  2. #2
    Moderator Peakbagr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Near the Adirondack Blue Line
    Posts
    3,750
    Hi Neil,

    Great news on the tower. You put in a lot of work on this and your efforts should be applauded.

    As respects the bear cannisters - This is an issue largely created by campers who don't keep clean camps, store food nearby or incorrectly, and leave garbage around. As you well know, bears are creatures of habit, especially as respects food. 1 season where they don't associate food with campers, and the problem goes away, SO LONG AS THE PROPER PROCEDURES ARE CONTINUED.

    So, does DEC make everyone carry a bear cannister because some don't know what they are doing, or do the rangers crack down at the trailheads and at the interior campsites? I'd rather try a year of strict enforcement of proper food hanging and clean campsites than make everyone have to buy/rent/carry cannisters.
    Fines, evictions, education might do the trick.
    If that doesn't work, how about some cables where food, garbage and packs could be stached? They could be made inconspicuous.

    Its just that I hate to see everything dumbed-down by the use of cannisters. IMHO, this should be the last resort, not the first.

    Peakbagr
    Last edited by Peakbagr; 02-16-2007 at 10:48 PM.

  3. #3
    Registered User DeadFred's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Albany. Avatar: Dakota on Allen's summit
    Posts
    274
    Neil,

    As an ADK Member, I would like to thank you and the Board and the Committees for taking this unusual and courageous approach regarding the Mount Adams fire tower. Kudos to you all for this sensible and thoughtful position on this piece of Adirondack history.

    In regard to the bear canisters...YES! An emergency regulation (pending a permanent one) requiring canisters would address many negative issues currently facing this region. These include but are not limited to bear behavior modification, overuse, improvement of the litter situation caused by bear raiding and hikers in general, boosting of LNT practices, and education of hikers/users regarding their own behavior, to name a few.

    I would suggest, however, a well thought-out and developed source for canister supply and provision. No, it's not up to the DEC, NYS, ADK, or any other group to provide this service, to be sure. However, given the numbers we are taking about here, it would serve all parties that users be able to rent or purchase affordable canisters at points of entry and regional merchant locations. Cost is not insignificant for many users, and supply may be a problem initially if this emerg reg is implemented. Also, rental options at ADK locations like the ADK Main Lodge, JBL, The Garden entry point, etc will, I think, benefit all parties. (Users can rent them or buy them at ADK locations to ensure compliance and the ADK can make a marginal profit to aid it's programs, including programs related to bears, education, and canister usage. Further, those who come to the region unaware of the reg can still rent a canister to meet their needs without turning around, ruining their plans, or trying to cheat the reg.) Perhaps a partnership with one or two of the manufacturers to provide discounts on volume expected by the implementation of this reg would serve users best and still be profitable for the canister makers. This would also ensure that the "right" type of canisters are used, thus avoiding the weekend warrior-type trying to pass his coffee can off to a Ranger as his "bear canister."

    I could continue writing, however I'm sure others will offer thoughtful comments (on either side of the issue) as well.

    (Oh yeah, I use a canister myself.)

    Thanks for everything!

    Fred

    [After reading Peakbgr's post I must say I'm inclined to agree that alternatives should be tried first. However, we are getting to a pretty bad point and I'm not sure that we can solve the issue as quickly nor as easily without some more drastic (ok, not draconian) measures.]
    Last edited by DeadFred; 03-15-2004 at 09:17 AM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    near Albany, NY
    Posts
    525

    Thumbs up Yiiiiiippppppeeeeeeee!!

    Yeeeeeeee hhhhhhaaa!!

    I am thrilled to hear about Mt Adams!!
    Thank you Neil and everyone else for doing the job right!!

    I don't understand what's soooo bad about the bear canisters??!!

    I can only see the benefits. What are the cons?

    (It seems that everyone knows where to buy hiking gear etc. so now they can add another item to their overstocked supply of gear for hiking/camping!! Isn't shopping for gear only second to hiking and/or posting on VFTT??!!)

    Thanks again!!

  5. #5
    Senior Member Pete_Hickey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Hull, Quebec. Avatar: Wanna come out and play?
    Posts
    1,977
    Of course, it's a "Yea!" for Mt. Adams.

    The bear canisters thing? I don't like it.

    Then again, There are a lot of changes that I don't really like that have happened over the past 15 or so years.... But I understand them and accept them. And I realize it is probably for the best.

    Nope, I don't like it, but I do support it. We don'T live in the same world we used to.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Doc McPeak's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    saratoga springs Avatar: Spring has sprung ... just not yet on Sawtooth #3
    Posts
    952
    Excellent news on Mount Adams, Neil. I have spread the word about Mount Adams and the pros of keeping the tower to several hundred people, so we all thank you.

    In Yosemite, the bears were SO much worse than they are here, and the touristy once a year campers make the slobs who occasionally stumble in to Lake Colden or Marcy Dam seem like boy scouts. You probably saw the bears sneaking up and smashing out car windows, climbing on the roof and jumping on the trunk to pop it open, and harrassing campers into abandoning their food. It started as a minor problem and only grew. Well, this major problem that has been knocked back 75% and climbing because of a suberbly focused and diligent bear cannister/bear box policy.

    Here's the real success, though. By enforcing this policy they way they have, as well as bringing in Karelian bear dogs and using some other Ranger led deterrents, an unforseen yet far more valuable result has occured. The campers of Yosemite have become some of the most educated bear-area campers in the world. Did they start with posters and camp-site enforcement? Of course. It didn't work because the people who are the problem just don't get it until you ram it down their throats. Sad. But, that's life and reality.

    Band-aid approach or take the bull by the horns approach? What would be best for the region? Would the rangers prefer to have the policy in place so they could concentrate on other things? Would it produce similar results and cleaner camps like in Yosemite? Would people become more educated in the process?

    Hopefully the people looking this over will do a bunch of research on what has worked and ask a lot of questions before proceeding.
    "We sit together,
    the mountains and I,
    until only the mountain remains."

    -- Li Po (701-762 A.D.)

  7. #7
    Senior Member Mark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Home: Reading, MA Avtar: Bonds & Sons
    Posts
    430
    What's the big resistance to using bear canisters? They're an excellent deterrent to bear raids and will retrain the bears to find food elsewhere. I’ll sleep better knowing my food is safe and I’m not contributing to the problem. They are a little expensive to purchase, so perhaps some money could be set aside to subsidize their purchase. Of course, you can rent them for next to nothing if you don’t want to own one. Weight? Come on. Is 2 lbs. going to kill you?

    I wish the problem didn’t exist. However, seeing the poor practices by many High Peaks campers, I think this may be the most straight forward and expedient way to solve the bear problem.

  8. #8
    Senior Member lumberzac's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Beware of the Lumberzac
    Posts
    690
    My problem with canisters is they won’t fit in my pack. My normal weekend pack is 3100 cubic inches. I like to hike over peaks with a full pack. The weight issue doesn’t bother me, but the bulk of the canister does. I can fit a bear bag and hanging rope inside my cooking pot along with my stove, fuel, and matches. At this point I don’t camp in the Marcy Dam / Lake Colden area, not because of the bears, but because I don’t like to camp around a lot of people. The fact that I try to camp far away from other campers and avoid regular camp spots probably is the main reason I have had very few encounters with bears in the backcountry.

    It is good to see that ADK has taken a stance in the preservation of the fire towers. Each one stand as a monument to the sacrifices the observers and rangers took to preserve the wilderness for future generations.

  9. #9
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Fort Plain, NY
    Posts
    63
    I am so happy to hear of the preservation of tower Mnt. Adams. Two weekends ago my husband and I enjoyed crystal blue skies and a thermos of hot soup from the tower.

    As far as the bear canisters go, I find them awkward/cumbersome. Having done many trips into flowed lands, which was overrun with bears last summer, my husband and I had no problems with food storage. The problems we witnessed with nearby campers was that they maintaind sloppy sights with wrappers, food and smelly clothes strewn about. I don't think canisters will cure these problems. Perhaps more tickets need to be issued to these campers who continue to be careless, thus causing problems for the rest of us!

  10. #10
    Senior Member funkyfreddy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    1,091

    Wink Thanks you, ADK!

    A few years ago I got laughed at for using a bear canister at the Slant Rock lean to. Hmm....... I wonder if they're still laughing now? I haven't had any problems strapping the canister to the back of my pack like I would a tent or a sleeping bag. It's just a matter of planning and adjustment, figuring out where you're going and deciding whether you need to carry one or not. Personally I like not having to fumble around and rig up a bear bag at the end of a long hike.

    I also sleep better at night using a bear canister knowing that -
    1. No creature (bear, raccoon, mouse, etc.) is going to be able to steal my food and spoil my trip.
    2. I'm not contributing to a "bear problem".

    I'm also glad about the Mt. Adams fire tower news and am now going to join the ADK as I promised in an earlier thread. Once I join I'd like to see about getting together with some of the members who are VFTT'ers and live close to NYC.
    Last edited by funkyfreddy; 03-15-2004 at 09:52 AM.

  11. #11
    Moderator Peakbagr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Near the Adirondack Blue Line
    Posts
    3,750
    My problem with bear cannisters is that they are bulky, aren't efficient for packing and add to the pack's weight.
    My BIG problem though is cannisters are the easy way out.
    For those of you who know how to properly hang food, keep food out of tents and packs/leantos, bears are big furry things that pass your by your tentsite.
    So, if this reg is implemented, we all have to tote the cannisters into the backcountry so the few who don't know or don't care about keeping a clean site can sleep undisturbed at night ?
    With a year of education, strict enforcement, tickets and fines, the word will get out. Lets try that first.

  12. #12
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    664

    THANK YOU

    THANK YOU to the "real" Neil and to the board of directors of the Adirondack Mountain Club for making us all proud members of "our" Club.

    When is the first trailwork day scheduled for Mt-Adams "foot" trail?

    In the meantime see you all on Mt-Adams Saturday March 27th.


    Christine & Alex

  13. #13
    Senior Member Grumpy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    1,508
    The ADK board’s decision/position re the Adams firetower is something to applaud. And I heartily applaud it.

    Not to raise another issue, but what is ADK’s position on firetowers in other wilderness districts?

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

    Now, on to the bears.

    I’ve long been a believer that the bear “problem” at places like Marcy Dam, Lake Colden, Flowed Lands and in the Johns Brook valley is a product not just of human carelessness but also of bear nature. By nature, the bear is an opportunistic feeder looking for reliable supplies of easily accessible vittles. Thus the bear’s attraction to places like open dumps near town and backcountry campsites where humans frequently have left their goodies unattended and inadequately secured. The bear also has demonstrated a certain capacity to learn the ropes, so to speak, in dealing successfully with clever food bag hanging systems devised by mere humans.

    There’s little we can do to change the bear’s nature. But we can do something about human behavior.

    I have no affection whatsoever for the increasingly complex and sticky web of regulations that entangle us as we walk into the backcountry. Nonetheless, I reluctantly accept the reality that it is time for some kind of rule that requires adequate bear-proofing of campsites in the High Peaks.

    It is important to look at this in a hard-nosed way. If there is going to be additional regulation, it must be effective in solving the problem it is supposed to address.

    We must not view the bear problem and proposed regulations as a means to punish humans for slovenly behavior or to discourage people from visiting the areas in question, or as an avenue to generating revenue by the imposition of new “use” or “surveillance” or “permit” fees. In this case the measure of effectiveness cannot be how many citations are issued for non-compliance or a reduction in the number of visitor nights at popular sites or in the amount of fee money collected; the measure must be a demonstrable reduction in the number of bear raids on camps in the High Peaks. And it is as simple as that.

    My strong suspicion is that requiring a “proper” bear bag hang is a hopelessly foolish errand. Simple education and the hope that people will use “proper” bear-bag hanging technique has not worked yet. If it had, the situation would not be at the point it is now.

    So far, the one consistently effective means of keeping High Peaks bruins out of the larder seems to have been the properly designed and made bear-proof canister. So the impulse to require canisters probably is on the right track. Bear-proof lockers evidently have been used with success in the western United States, so perhaps installing those in heavily visited areas is a reasonable and responsible option. Lockers would be no more out of place than leanto shelters, privvies, bear poles and . . . bridges or other trail structures.

    It seems to me that any such regulation is doomed to failure unless three conditions are met.

    First off, any such regulation must be butt-simple. If you camp you must store your food in an approved canister or bear-proof locker. Period.

    The second is that enforcement must be consistently aggressive and rigorous, and painful for violators. Enforcement of bear-proofing regulations will have to be a priority mission for the rangers. Staffing, field assignments and budgets must reflect this reality.

    And third, it must be made as convenient as is reasonably possible for campers to comply with the regulation. This means that campers must be availed of reasonable notice (big signs at trailheads to supplement brochures, press releases, state web site postings, posters in outfitting stores, etc, should suffice) and that approved canisters or lockers must be readily available in adequate supply to accommodate prospective camper needs. Installation of bear-proof lockers at the more heavily visited camping locales would be a reasonable step and would eliminate excuses.

    I also agree with Doc McPeak’s view that other means of discouraging bears from visiting camps should be investigated, considered and possibly implemented as part of the total campaign. Denying the bears their easy food and at the same time making it clear to the bears that approaching humans and their camps is likely to have unpleasant repercussions seems like a sensible one-two punch that might go a long, long way toward resolving the issue.

    It will be tempting to take half-step measures and engage in temporizing on this, for a whole raft of reasons. Wouldn’t hurt to remember that’s largely how things got to this point. The old saying goes that if you keep doing the same old thing you’ll keep getting the same old thing. Making changes is not always effective -- the trick lies in identifying and changing the right same old thing in order to gain a preferred outcome.

    Down off the soapbox, for a while now . . .

    G.

  14. #14
    Banned
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Bethel, VT
    Posts
    364

    Someone has to say it....

    A legitimate solution to the problem is to kill the bears. There are plenty of bears in the Adirondacks, and too many in certain areas. It will mean meat for someone; stuff the hyde for a museum.

    Lockers are the best idea, and can be made to look onobtrusive. They can be built into Lean-to's. Properly built, they can last forever.

    Save the Firetowers! Focus on Wakely next!

    Thanks for checking in Neil!

    My god! Another Bear thread!

    Mike
    Last edited by rondak46; 03-15-2004 at 04:26 PM.

  15. #15
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    near Albany, NY
    Posts
    525

    Rondack46!!

    I think you nailed it!!!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •