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  1. #61

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slumgum View Post
    At this point they have no choice.
    Thatís the narrow minded thinking we want to avoid. You may be convinced of your favorite solution to this problem, but I assure you there are others.

  2. #62

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    Quote Originally Posted by FreeGoldRush View Post
    That’s the narrow minded thinking we want to avoid. You may be convinced of your favorite solution to this problem, but I assure you there are others.
    What, for example?

  3. #63
    Registered User Squirrel29's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TNhiker View Post
    along with not using the cables----but also bad food habits such as having crumbs and all that get on the ground.........
    Better food habits would not only help with the bears, but would also help with the mice.

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    Which bear container is legal everywhere? How would I know if it is legal ?

    thom

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    Agree with FreeGoldRush, make more bear boxes available. the Land Management supervisors/ officials in all states could work with the local AT clubs to install good quality bear boxes at every shelter (or adding additional to popular spots). AT clubs can help out by including these in fundraising efforts. I'd happily donate (PATC in my area) if it meant better bear boxes rather than schlepping canisters.

    Good story here on a club in Virginia that did this, kudos to the great volunteers - https://www.richmond.com/news/virgin...967a4a150.html

  6. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by FreeGoldRush View Post
    Thatís the narrow minded thinking we want to avoid. You may be convinced of your favorite solution to this problem, but I assure you there are others.
    I am in agreement that this is narrow minded (mandated canisters) thinking. But the powers that be will always place the onus on the hikers. Bears, on the other hand, are treated with kid gloves so to speak. As I mentioned earlier, as a beekeeper I KNOW there are ways to change bears' behavior through negative reinforcement. A baited electric fence is the only way I can keep marauding bears out of my apiaries. Bleeding hearts will pitch a hissy fit because "Winnie the Pooh" gets shocked, but in the end it is what is best. It keeps wild bears wild. This is just one of many possibilities that could give a bear pause before grabbing packs or pulling down food hangs. If they are capable of learning how to rob, they can learn that there are consequences to such robbing. Good luck getting through to the convoluted chain of command that runs the A.T.

  7. #67
    Registered User soilman's Avatar
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    In 2018 there were reported bear encounters from GA to MA along the AT. These resulted in over 20 shelters either closed or had warnings or alerts. In the 2019 Goddard shelter incident a bear box did not deter the bear and as a result he had to be euthanized. Hikers created this problem. Hikers need to solve it. Hikers should take personal responsibility for proper food storage, remove all trash and food scraps, and cook away from where one sleeps.
    More walking, less talking.

  8. #68

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paleolith54 View Post
    I wouldn't argue with a word of that, but would also point out that LOTS of things work if everyone does it right. When I learned about backpacking back in the old days, I learned to hang between two trees, not from a single tree limb. This is much simpler and I think inherently more effective than the PCT method that folks seem to regard as some sort of gold standard for hanging, and I've never spent more than five minutes selecting trees and another five setting the line. Odor-proof sacks inside another sack that are well-hidden far from camp work well (plenty of BWCA trippers do this.) Bear boxes work well (trails in parts of Colorado used to have 2-3 ammo cans attached to a tree.) IMO, the container is not the real issue.

    I continue to contend that the real issue is that our ranks as backpackers are somewhat contaminated with a small but persistent group of slackers and slobs, and my experience is that we don't do much in the way of self-policing. The stories some have told above are probably more common than we'd like to believe, and it is those morons who are backing the land managers into a corner. They can't institute IQ tests as part of the permitting process, so they end up settling on something than "can" work and that they can get some consensus on, then mandate it across the board. I don't really blame them, but I sure hate the thought of carrying an extra 2-plus pounds to solve a problem that will probably persist regardless of the measures put in place.
    In my experience, it's more than a small group. Backpacking has become much more popular in the last 5-10 years. A lot of people want to "get out there" but don't take the time to learn how to do things correctly. Food handling is probably near or at the top of the list. It is a rare occasion when I see people out in the backcountry eating away from their tents, for example. Most of the hangs I see are almost comical and would easily be taken by a novice bear. For most casual backpackers (the majority, I feel) a bear can is the least harmful for all involved.

  9. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by martinb View Post
    In my experience, it's more than a small group. Backpacking has become much more popular in the last 5-10 years. A lot of people want to "get out there" but don't take the time to learn how to do things correctly. Food handling is probably near or at the top of the list. It is a rare occasion when I see people out in the backcountry eating away from their tents, for example. Most of the hangs I see are almost comical and would easily be taken by a novice bear. For most casual backpackers (the majority, I feel) a bear can is the least harmful for all involved.
    Yeah, youíre probably right. Sadly.

  10. #70
    Registered User soilman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slumgum View Post
    I am in agreement that this is narrow minded (mandated canisters) thinking. But the powers that be will always place the onus on the hikers. Bears, on the other hand, are treated with kid gloves so to speak. As I mentioned earlier, as a beekeeper I KNOW there are ways to change bears' behavior through negative reinforcement. A baited electric fence is the only way I can keep marauding bears out of my apiaries. Bleeding hearts will pitch a hissy fit because "Winnie the Pooh" gets shocked, but in the end it is what is best. It keeps wild bears wild. This is just one of many possibilities that could give a bear pause before grabbing packs or pulling down food hangs. If they are capable of learning how to rob, they can learn that there are consequences to such robbing. Good luck getting through to the convoluted chain of command that runs the A.T.
    I have been on ATC trail crews in GSMNP and in NJ where we used an electric fence around our kitchen. An electric fence was used as a temporary solution at Mt Rogers last year. I don't see electric fences being a practical and year long solution. Where and what is the power source? Why does the solution have to come from the land managers? They did not create the problem. I would much rather have the limited dollars available used to maintain trails and not correct the irresponsible actions of hikers.
    More walking, less talking.

  11. #71

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    Sadly,it's not just backpackers involved with rule breaking.I have known too many people in other venues that think for some reason that the rules apply to someone else.

    Properly designed bear cables and bear boxes go a long way in solving the problem and I think most people will at least hang their food,but not always their packs,even when the rules require packs to be hung.I've seen it firsthand.

  12. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by soilman View Post
    I have been on ATC trail crews in GSMNP and in NJ where we used an electric fence around our kitchen. An electric fence was used as a temporary solution at Mt Rogers last year. I don't see electric fences being a practical and year long solution. Where and what is the power source? Why does the solution have to come from the land managers? They did not create the problem. I would much rather have the limited dollars available used to maintain trails and not correct the irresponsible actions of hikers.
    Grrrr. Nor do I think electric fences are a practical solution! It works for apiaries. Not for habituated bears in the forests. I simply used this as an example of negative behavioral reinforcement. As I pointed out earlier, the oversight of the A.T. is something of an algorithmic nightmare. Just who is in charge? The ATC? The National Park Service? The US Forest Service? The various trail clubs? Does it make sense to you that "land managers" handle a wildlife problem? It is going to take someone with a modicum of training in animal behavior (specifically bear behavior) to reverse their dangerous habits.

    Your post makes it clear that you believe "hikers" are the problem. Funny you should mention Mt. Rogers because I was hiking through the Grayson Highlands this spring when a member of a trail crew accused me of contributing to the "bear problem" by feeding bears. I was gobsmacked. The Mt. Rogers area, as you well know, is home to a population of wild ponies. Throughout the summer months hundreds of "day hikers" haul packs full of food for the ponies, ignoring signs advising not to do so. Maybe, just maybe, that could be a factor contributing to the bear problem. As a thru hiker my priority is to feed myself and only myself. I do not carry extra food for the bears and every thru hiker I know is on board with this practice.

    So perhaps we should consider the underlying circumstances contributing to this issue. What factors are common to the problem areas (GSMNP, SNP, Grayson Highlands, NJ, southern Vermont)? All these areas have high numbers of occasional or short term hikers. These are weekend warriors with little understanding of bear issues or wilderness etiquette in general. Even if they did, they have so little stake in the matter that it is of little consequence to them how they behave. Sure, there are irresponsible thru hikers(and most of those drop out before they get out of Georgia), but they pale in comparison to the number of day hikers, group outings, and weekend warriors. In my opinion, that is where the problem lies. There should be a distinction made when making a generalization about "hikers".

  13. #73
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    There goes the neighborhood!
    Meanwhile, National Parks along the Continental Divide in Wyoming, Montana, Alberta and British Columbia manage a large number of backpackers and a healthy bear population without resorting to bear canisters.
    Grand Teton National Park, NOT on the Continental Divide, furnishes bear canisters for backpackers.
    Yíall have fun!
    Wayne

  14. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slumgum View Post
    All these areas have high numbers of occasional or short term hikers. These are weekend warriors with little understanding of bear issues or wilderness etiquette in general. Even if they did, they have so little stake in the matter that it is of little consequence to them how they behave. Sure, there are irresponsible thru hikers(and most of those drop out before they get out of Georgia), but they pale in comparison to the number of day hikers, group outings, and weekend warriors. In my opinion, that is where the problem lies. There should be a distinction made when making a generalization about "hikers".
    That's just good old thru hiker elitism. Thru hikers aren't anything special, and day hikers aren't irresponsible or unaware. Day, section, or thru, it's always the few, whether inconsiderate or uneducated or otherwise, that make things difficult for others.

  15. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by Venchka View Post
    There goes the neighborhood!
    Meanwhile, National Parks along the Continental Divide in Wyoming, Montana, Alberta and British Columbia manage a large number of backpackers and a healthy bear population without resorting to bear canisters.
    Wayne
    Ahhhh. Let's close the A.T. and just move out west.

  16. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slumgum View Post
    Ahhhh. Let's close the A.T. and just move out west.
    Nope. Enjoy the east.
    Wayne

  17. #77
    Registered User soilman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slumgum View Post
    Your post makes it clear that you believe "hikers" are the problem. Funny you should mention Mt. Rogers because I was hiking through the Grayson Highlands this spring when a member of a trail crew accused me of contributing to the "bear problem" by feeding bears. I was gobsmacked. The Mt. Rogers area, as you well know, is home to a population of wild ponies. Throughout the summer months hundreds of "day hikers" haul packs full of food for the ponies, ignoring signs advising not to do so. Maybe, just maybe, that could be a factor contributing to the bear problem. As a thru hiker my priority is to feed myself and only myself. I do not carry extra food for the bears and every thru hiker I know is on board with this practice.

    So perhaps we should consider the underlying circumstances contributing to this issue. What factors are common to the problem areas (GSMNP, SNP, Grayson Highlands, NJ, southern Vermont)? All these areas have high numbers of occasional or short term hikers. These are weekend warriors with little understanding of bear issues or wilderness etiquette in general. Even if they did, they have so little stake in the matter that it is of little consequence to them how they behave. Sure, there are irresponsible thru hikers(and most of those drop out before they get out of Georgia), but they pale in comparison to the number of day hikers, group outings, and weekend warriors. In my opinion, that is where the problem lies. There should be a distinction made when making a generalization about "hikers".
    I believe hikers have caused the problem. Regardless if one walks for a day, a weekend, or a summer, I classify them as a hiker. No distinction is necessary. People attempting a thru hike are not immune to bad behaviors. I did an overnight north of Pearisburg this summer and when I got to Rice Field shelter two thru hikers had left their packs unattended at the shelter to go get water. They had just resupplied as loaves of bread were strapped to the outside of their pack and other snacks were on the picnic table. I know there are bears in this area as I have spotted them on a couple of occasions. These people had already hiked over 600 miles so they probably have done this before. Just because one has hiked a long distance or for a long period of time does not mean one is experienced.
    More walking, less talking.

  18. #78

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    Quote Originally Posted by soilman View Post
    I believe hikers have caused the problem. Regardless if one walks for a day, a weekend, or a summer, I classify them as a hiker. No distinction is necessary. People attempting a thru hike are not immune to bad behaviors. I did an overnight north of Pearisburg this summer and when I got to Rice Field shelter two thru hikers had left their packs unattended at the shelter to go get water. They had just resupplied as loaves of bread were strapped to the outside of their pack and other snacks were on the picnic table. I know there are bears in this area as I have spotted them on a couple of occasions. These people had already hiked over 600 miles so they probably have done this before. Just because one has hiked a long distance or for a long period of time does not mean one is experienced.
    On my thru hike it was absolutely overwhelmingly obvious that weekend warriors are primarily the ones with bad behavior. There are FAR more of them, they are less experienced, and did less research before hitting the trail. Iím not complaining or bragging. Just stating how it is out there.

  19. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by FreeGoldRush View Post
    On my thru hike it was absolutely overwhelmingly obvious that weekend warriors are primarily the ones with bad behavior. There are FAR more of them, they are less experienced, and did less research before hitting the trail. Iím not complaining or bragging. Just stating how it is out there.
    While youíre absolutely correct in terms of sheer numbers, I would argue that in my years of hiking it has ways been thru hikers who I have observed to be more cavalier about food storage. Then again, the thrus also seemed more apt to keep a clean campsite in general foodwise which is likely just as big a factor as how the food itself is stored. I guess in summary my opinion is itís more nuanced than we often like to think. 🤔
    Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.

  20. #80

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    Over 10 years of sectioning I never had a bear issue. The closest we go was NJ where we met someone who had been bluff charged by a mother bear while her cubs tried to get into the food box at High Point the night before. The next day we saw a bear leaving the next shelter south after car spot. The whites didn't have bear issues along the AT until ten years ago, they now have bear issues at every AT shelter and have installed bear boxes. Even sites with caretakers who in theory keep an eye on proper camping techniques have significant issues.

    BTW in the whites unattended food boxes quickly become trash cans for lazy hikers. They all get pretty disgusting after a few weeks. They are not the solution.

    BTW plenty of folks use solar powered electric fences for farms. As long as there is place that gets enough sun to put up a panel they work. Bears figure out fence quick and they will avoid them. I went a year without mine plugged in after a couple of years of using it on my raspberries.

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