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Petition to Allow Ursack in Yosemite and SEKI

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Re: Ursack Passes IGBC Test

Postby freestone » Fri Apr 25, 2014 4:51 pm

This is what is allowed in SEKI and a good map of the areas that require canisters:
http://www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/bear_bc.htm



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Re: Ursack Passes IGBC Test

Postby Hobbes » Sun Apr 27, 2014 7:32 am

oldranger wrote:Don't believe Ursack approved for anyplace in SEKI except where counterbalancing is acceptable. Then it must be counterbalanced to be legal. Mike


Mike, the link Freestone posted @ http://www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/bear_bc.htm is the reason I decided to get the Ursack. The language for areas outside of Dusy, Rae & Rock is very telling:

Containers are HIGHLY RECOMMENDED in all other areas throughout Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.

This is similar to what Inyo now says after the Ursack lawsuit once they backed off from language like this:

Containers are REQUIRED in the Dusy Basin, Rae Lakes Loop, and Rock Creek

I of course will take my BV along as well in the car, so in case something happens in the meantime, I can easily shift from one method to another. Since every experienced hiker already has a hard container, I would imagine all kinds of people are thinking the same thing, as the Ursack is the supplemental device, not the primary means of storage.
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Re: Ursack Passes IGBC Test

Postby oldranger » Sun Apr 27, 2014 10:02 pm

I stand by my previous statement, according to the Superintendent's Compendium of discretionary regulations and restrictions, etc. The only legal food storage methods (outside of the 3 restricted areas) is 1. approved canisters (not Ursack), 2. Permanent storage boxes, 3. Counterbalancing. Consequently the Ursack has no more legal status than a nylon stuff sack. Also the Rae Lakes loop restricted area extends all the way from Pinchot Pass to Forester Pass so the Ursack provides no benefit.

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Re: Ursack Passes IGBC Test

Postby AaronRDavis » Mon Apr 28, 2014 3:28 pm

Just recieved my S29 Allwhite. Now awaiting news of its approval for SEKI. Even if not, im looking forward to using it in non-restricted areas instead of heavier/time consuming methods.
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Re: Ursack Passes IGBC Test

Postby rlown » Mon Apr 28, 2014 5:48 pm

it's a pretty cool discussion. It's just going to take one bear to be reported to tear into or take an Ursack and "they" lock it down more specifically.
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Re: Ursack Passes IGBC Test

Postby freestone » Mon Apr 28, 2014 6:50 pm

Now awaiting news of its approval for SEKI.


Not sure that is going to come. The 2014 list of approved barriers for the required zones in SEKI has been published and Ursack is not on the list.

The mood I get from the NPS site is the Ursack is on the list with Counter Balance as highly discouraged.
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Re: Ursack Passes IGBC Test

Postby longri » Tue Apr 29, 2014 8:14 am

rlown wrote:it's a pretty cool discussion. It's just going to take one bear to be reported to tear into or take an Ursack and "they" lock it down more specifically.


It would be surprising it if were approved and more surprising if it were approved and stayed that way. I wish that at the very least it could be approved as a second container. I frequently encounter backpackers who leave the food they couldn't fit in their canister completely unprotected because carrying a second rigid canister is unthinkable for most people (myself included).
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Re: Ursack Passes IGBC Test

Postby markskor » Tue Apr 29, 2014 9:54 am

longri wrote: I wish that at the very least it could be approved as a second container. I frequently encounter backpackers who leave the food they couldn't fit in their canister completely unprotected because carrying a second rigid canister is unthinkable for most people (myself included).


I like this "a second canister/stuff sack can be hung" sipulation but only:
1) You carry a legal bear canister already, (some minimum size requirement - not the smallest can available), and
2) You would then be legally allowed to hang a second food bag (not specifically a ursack but any stuff sack.)

Many know I enjoy the Yosemite area. Regulations there seem to be somewhat confusing and conflicting. Rules there say you are mandated to carry a legal canister (Rangers check at the Permit Office) except if you are PCT bound, where then, one is seemingly not required. If you think I am wrong, just spend a few summer hours outside the Tuolumne Store as the PCT denizens come through and watch as they grab their re-supply boxes. Half of the thru hikers never carry a can - Rangers know this yet do nothing (and generally turn a blind eye.)...Double standard?

Additionally, hanging any food in YNP is taboo - (for good reason as Yosemite bears know how to defeat this practice when given enough time). However, as someone who goes out for 12+ consecutive days, not all food fits in my Bearikade to start. I shun to carry a second can...not enough pack room. I would prefer to hang the rest and keep a close watch the first few days out, but as any hang is easily spotted from afar - tickets given...I usually am generally forced to sleep with the rest and hope. Hanging would seem to be a better/safer alternative.

I see no advantage to hanging a Ursack over a regular stuff sack, as Mike noted above, after grabbing the hang - Ursack or stuff sack, bears can easily carry both some distance away. Securing a Ursack to a tree (the recommended way) only gives the bear purchase to gnaw away - ruining any food inside.
I do not see Ursacks lasting long on the OK list in the Sierra.
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Re: Ursack Passes IGBC Test

Postby longri » Tue Apr 29, 2014 10:44 am

markskor wrote:Additionally, hanging any food in YNP is taboo - (for good reason as Yosemite bears know how to defeat this practice when given enough time). However, as someone who goes out for 12+ consecutive days, not all food fits in my Bearikade to start. I shun to carry a second can...not enough pack room. I would prefer to hang the rest and keep a close watch the first few days out, but as any hang is easily spotted from afar - tickets given...I usually am generally forced to sleep with the rest and hope. Hanging would seem to be a better/safer alternative.


I see people "hanging" their food six feet off the ground in Yosemite every year. Last summer I saw this within 20 feet of the JMT in Lyell Canyon. Even when the right kind of tree is nearby it takes skill to hang properly, a skill that most backpackers have not developed. It seems to me a better defense is a highly resistant bag. But I doubt the idea of an Ursack as a second container would go over well because it is potentially confusing. It's simpler to demand canisters in all cases and accept that there will never be 100% compliance.
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Ursack Passes IGBC Test

Postby wanderin.jack » Mon May 12, 2014 2:19 am

I would. I have the green one that came out in 2009 and was approved for that season. I use it almost every summer and am happy with it. I am also very careful to use it properly.


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Re: The necessity of a bear canister

Postby Brien » Fri Feb 06, 2015 11:10 am

First off, I appreciate all the suggestions. I know this is a sensitive subject for some and appreciate not getting flamed over it. If everyone took proper care of storing food, disposing waste and keeping their site clean we wouldn't need bear canisters. For hundreds of years people have been hanging their food and that's what I was taught.

In looking online I came across the Ursack, which claims to have been added to the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee approved list in July 2014. Does anyone have any real world knowledge of these bags?

http://www.ursack.com/product/ursack-s29-allwhite/
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Re: The necessity of a bear canister

Postby markskor » Fri Feb 06, 2015 11:46 am

Brien wrote: If everyone took proper care of storing food, disposing waste and keeping their site clean we wouldn't need bear canisters.

Respectfully, disagree...Bears are sneaky opportunists - they have learned to find the easiest food available - anywhere. Way back when (when we hung our food legally), we were clean and careful then too. Bears, (smart critters), through hunger, and trial and error, readily discovered ways into our high calorie stashes and, clean camp or not, took advantage of any easy scores available. Once successful, they returned.

The bear canister is the only 99.9% successful/ cost effective way of keeping backcountry food safe from bears today. It puts the task directly on the backpacker.

RE Ursacks...IMHO, Ursacks, while a successful deterrent for small critters, are not the answer to bears. While temporarily legal again this season... (Why?...long story there), they are not effective. Even when used correctly, a determined bear can work the Ursack - crushing food inside - essentially providing the bear a taste; once getting a taste - they return. Again, "A fed bear is a dead bear."

The Sierra is the bear's home.
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