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In Yosemite? Bear in mind…

Yosemite Valley, April

… what to do with food and attractants when camping in BEAR country! :-) (Black bears (Ursus americanus)… because grizzlies are extirpated in California.)

Already this week, bears have caused three incidents in Yosemite Valley campgrounds, according to Caitlin Lee-Roney, who is a wildlife biologist and expert insider at Yosemite National Park. SFGate.com quotes her:

“All three incidents occurred because either food or attractants were left out after campers went to sleep,” she wrote in a post sent out Tuesday morning.

The SFGate.com article reminds us to store all food and scented items in a latched, bear-proof locker and to NEVER to leave food or anything with the scent of food unattended or in our vehicles!

Oh yes, about those “bear canisters” –

Bears continue to be active in Yosemite’s backcountry. In the wilderness near the Snow Creek footbridge, she reported that “many visitors have reported seeing a bear rolling bear canisters away from campsites.”

“A sow with cubs has been reportedly checking out bear canisters at the Cloud’s Rest junction on the John Muir Trail,” she wrote.

Maybe the bear ordered the food “to go!” :-)

Lee-Roney had THIS advice for campers in Yosemite’s backcountry – to always place bear cans within ear-shot or headlamp range and be prepared to scare bears away from camp at night by YELLING! (No problem THERE! :-) )

A bear tried to get into a residence in El Portal through an open window. In addition this week, vehicles hit two bears on park roads:

One bear was hit near the Big Oak Flat entrance while the other was hit on Highway 41 near Grouse Creek. So far this year, vehicles have hit nine bears in the park.

She advised that park visitors who sight a bear on a food raid report the encounter to the Save-A-Bear Hotline at (209) 372-0322.

Mountain lions have also been sighted this week: One on the trail to Ostrander Lake and the other crossing Highway 41 near the Wawona Campground.

Here are the bear statistics:

Weekly Incidents By Location

  • 3 – Snow Creek
  • 3 – John Muir Trail
  • 1 – Illouette Canyon
  • 1 – Matterhorn Canyon
  • 2 – North Pines Campground
  • 1 – Camp 4 Campground
  • 1 – El Portal

Yearly Incident Total

  • Parking Lots – 4 incidents, $720 damage
  • Campgrounds – 13 incidents, $208 damage
  • Other Areas – 18 incidents, 1,1225
  • Wilderness – 34 incidents, $2,255 damage

Do you have a minivan? GREAT! (For bears, that is….) Long-time readers of this blog may remember the article I posted in 2010 about minivans being the vehicle of choice for Yosemite bears!

Happy Camping! :-)

-Bill at

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