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Caching food in bear boxes on the JMT

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Re: Caching food in bear boxes on the JMT

Postby rlown » Tue Aug 31, 2010 1:44 pm

better to just make everyone put their names and permit numbers on the stuff they put in the bear box, so they can be issued a citation, if left behind. Pays for the ranger who has to deal with it.

Most don't read or care.



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Re: Caching food in bear boxes on the JMT

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Aug 31, 2010 5:44 pm

On all the boxes we passed on the southern part of the JMT (between Rae and Whitney), there are notices - do not leave trash. Pack it out. Don't put bear canisters in the boxes. All of them had noxious trash in, sometimes a few items that were still usable like tampons or TP also.

And then there were the two guys scrounging from box to box. Clearly they had not planned resupplies very well. I was glad we were in camp or they might have made off with the bag of snacks I had put in the box (first day out, ate less than anticipated).

The boxes at trailheads in Inyo are clearly marked (the ones at Onion and Horseshoe, anyway) - Mark your stuff with your anticipated exit date. If you don't come back for it within two days of the date, it'll get tossed. If it's not marked, it goes out.

Rangers hike the trails with daypacks - I saw four of them in four days - and they are not trash pickup any more than other hikers are. Leaving junk in backcountry boxes is just plain rude, there are obviously space issues in the height of summer when a lot of people are on the trail, and it encourages the scroungers. And leaving stuff in trailhead boxes filling them to the brim leads to people leaving stuff in cars, which in places like Yosemite led to bears figuring out they can rip open car doors. People just need to pick up after themselves!
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Re: Caching food in bear boxes on the JMT

Postby richlong8 » Thu Sep 02, 2010 11:58 am

" The same is true of bear canisters stashed off trail and meant as a cache -- I find and confiscate about half a dozen of those per season. You can pick up your cache (if the ranger's there) along with a citation."

I have some trouble with this.
Does this mean that we are officially not allowed to stash/cache any food, even in a legal bearcan...(with an attached posted/date to pick up note) somewhere backcountry SEKI?...assume hidden off trail and not in a bear box.
I know the "Did-not-return-and-pick-up" rate must be high, but are you saying that if you found a fully loaded bear can, under some rocks/cairn on July 28th, and a note said JMT pickup...~Aug 5th with a name...you would still take it and fine the individual too?
Seems harsh.
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Personally, I try to stay away from real popular areas, where the bear boxes, and "grouchy" rangers tend to be located. If a ranger finds someone's cache of food in a bear canister located in an isolated spot, maybe the hiker caching the food did not conceal it good enough. Not everyone has the big bucks, desire, and wherewithal to use the resorts to buy or pickup food. They should have the option to cache some food in a bear canister without a ranger overreacting because he is tired of picking up trash. What is it really hurting, if its concealed and sealed up?
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Re: Caching food in bear boxes on the JMT

Postby rlown » Thu Sep 02, 2010 2:38 pm

richlong8 wrote:
" The same is true of bear canisters stashed off trail and meant as a cache -- I find and confiscate about half a dozen of those per season. You can pick up your cache (if the ranger's there) along with a citation."

I have some trouble with this.
Does this mean that we are officially not allowed to stash/cache any food, even in a legal bearcan...(with an attached posted/date to pick up note) somewhere backcountry SEKI?...assume hidden off trail and not in a bear box.
I know the "Did-not-return-and-pick-up" rate must be high, but are you saying that if you found a fully loaded bear can, under some rocks/cairn on July 28th, and a note said JMT pickup...~Aug 5th with a name...you would still take it and fine the individual too?
Seems harsh.


Personally, I try to stay away from real popular areas, where the bear boxes, and "grouchy" rangers tend to be located. If a ranger finds someone's cache of food in a bear canister located in an isolated spot, maybe the hiker caching the food did not conceal it good enough. Not everyone has the big bucks, desire, and wherewithal to use the resorts to buy or pickup food. They should have the option to cache some food in a bear canister without a ranger overreacting because he is tired of picking up trash. What is it really hurting, if its concealed and sealed up?


there should be no option to cache. you wanna hide something, fine. (not really.) If you don't pick it up, that's lame. It's a wilderness. You do what you can in the time alotted. the bear boxes in the back country are a crutch. my opinion.

Now, if someone was to cache their food in a bearikade.. Thats money..
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Re: Caching food in bear boxes on the JMT

Postby AlmostThere » Thu Sep 02, 2010 2:42 pm

richlong8 wrote:
Personally, I try to stay away from real popular areas, where the bear boxes, and "grouchy" rangers tend to be located. If a ranger finds someone's cache of food in a bear canister located in an isolated spot, maybe the hiker caching the food did not conceal it good enough. Not everyone has the big bucks, desire, and wherewithal to use the resorts to buy or pickup food. They should have the option to cache some food in a bear canister without a ranger overreacting because he is tired of picking up trash. What is it really hurting, if its concealed and sealed up?


After much consideration of this... I have a few questions.

How much did you spend on the gas to get to trailheads to set out those caches?
How much did you spend on bear canisters to contain the caches?
How much would it cost per side trip to resupply at a store/resort?
Would you REALLY label rangers grouchy or overreacting when trash in the backcountry is a HUGE PROBLEM?

It kind of IS a huge problem, you know. Want a bag of old fishing tackle? I'm sure I'll carry another one out next Sunday...
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Re: Caching food in bear boxes on the JMT

Postby rlown » Thu Sep 02, 2010 2:53 pm

I know Gdurkee is out at his post right now, so he won't answer until well, whenever.. So, he cant comment at this point.

Take out the boxes in the backcountry, unless supervised at like an HSC. Trailhead boxes make sense to keep the bears off the vehicles (still don't like the theft).. Hikers need to figure this out for themselves. And get fined if they screw up. A crutch is still a crutch..
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Re: Caching food in bear boxes on the JMT

Postby richlong8 » Thu Sep 02, 2010 3:14 pm

I am not talking about Bear canisters or other things left in bear boxes. People should clean up after themselves, and if they don't, they might have to learn the hard way.
I have only cached a couple of times, and most of the time, I would never bother, and I pick up after myself, and often after others, like the rest of you probably do.
However, I don't see why a concealed, sealed bear canister, that is found incidentally by a ranger, should inspire the same kind of reaction that leaving stuff in a bear box does. It is not exactly the same as trash lying in the middle of the trail, is it?
Just my "old school" opinion. It is the person whose caches own risk, but I like to think of a ranger as being some one who is out there to help me, not thinking of ways to write citations.
I am all for doing away with bear boxes. I think they were put in to help people be responsible("crutch").
The bear canisters are readily available to rent or buy, people just need to use them.
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