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Re: [pct-l] bear manners

Birgitte - 
I'll agree with most of what you said - with a couple exceptions. The
first is your assumption that "stealth camping" was the genesis of the
present bear problem. You said:
>     So-called "stealth" camping is not a new (or Jardine) invention.
> Years ago  ALL camping met the stealth definition. Food storage was
> haphazard because a "problem" was not envisioned; bears then easily
> tasted human food and gradually overcame their natural wariness of humans
> and - a Problem was born. 

If that were true then the East Coast would have one hell of a bear
problem.  While there are occasional problem bears here - there is no
"bear problem" of the magnitude found in the Sierras. The only place
there are any real "bear problems" are in the Smokies and at the
Delaware Water Gap NRA.  ANd those problems are not comparable. Your
root cause analysis needs a considerable amount of work, but I'm not
gonna give you the answers.  

Stealth camping won't work for the masses of people who use Yosemite -
but it works very well for those who thruhike the PCT because the
numbers aren't that large. And it's NOT a major - or even a minor
contributor to the problem. I could get into why you have such a problem
with stealth
camping, but at the moment it's not important.  We may get to that
another day.  

Second point - you wrote:
> An excuse ("canisters
> are heavy/$$$" "there wasn't a good tree" "I was too tired to walk
> out/guard the food" "I only left it for a minute") is INexcuseable.

I'll agree with everything there except -- your judgement about what's 
too heavy. I'll tell you what I told Tom, although in different words -
when you've spent 3 to 6 months on the trail and walked 2000 miles or
more - with or without that bear canister, then you'll have some
credibility with respect to what's acceptable or not with regard to pack
weight for long distance hikers. Until then, you're talking the talk,
but you haven't walked the walk. You can call it an excuse if you want -
but in so doing, you'd only expose your own ignorance.  The PCT is 2600
miles - and adding 5 or more pounds of bear canister to my pack weight
in order to carry 10 days food --- is unacceptable. 

Last point - or rather, points.  You wrote:
>     There is a sure solution to this mess. No human should  make it
> possible for a bear to taste human food - ever, ever. Being "lucky so
> far" isn't good enough, nor is "almost never". Nor is being able to chase
> a bear away from an about-to-be-devoured meal (which is risky for other
> reasons, of course), or not personally knowing anybody who fed a bear
> recently.

Again, I'll agree with most of this, but your "sure solution" is only
part of the real solution. It's a necessary part, but it will NOT, at
this stage, cure what's gone wrong at Yosemite and what will eventually
follow at places like Glacier and the Smokies. There are a number of
"solutions" which will surface over the next 10 years, but until someone
is willing to bite the bullet and return the wilderness to a true
"natural" situation, they'll all fail. And that "natural situation" does
NOT mean the removal of humans from the wilderness as some would have
you believe.  It DOES mean a return to a proper predator/prey

Your interest is in keeping the bears and the hikers (including the
idiot faction) alive.  I have the same interest - with the addition (as
a thruhiker) of a very selfish and urgent interest in keeping the food
that I've just carried for 100 miles or more. I didn't carry it so I
could feed the bears. Until you've experienced the "hiker hunger" that
every thruhiker knows so intimately, you'll have no real understanding
of just how urgent and important it is that the bear NOT get my food.
When we hiked the AT, it took nearly 2 months for hiker hunger to hit
me.  When we hiked through Glacier NP last month it took less than 10
days.  I am NOT going to take kindly to a bear that thinks I carried
that food for him. 

I agree with your reasons for keeping the bears hungry - although your
reasons are but pale shadows in comparison to my hunger. :-)

I don't, however, necessarily agree with your solutions. And bear
canisters are the most disagreeable of all.  

Walk softly - and don't feed the bears, 

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