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Petition to Allow Ursack in Yosemite and SEKI

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Petition to Allow Ursack in Yosemite and SEKI

Postby HiSierra » Mon Feb 23, 2015 9:41 pm

Click Here to Sign Petition to Allow Ursack in SEKI and Yosemite]

Its been approved by the Interagency GRIZZLY BEAR Committee, so the hope is to convince these park managers to allow the Ursack in time for the 2015 hiking season. If you concur, please sign.



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Re: Petition to Allow Ursack in Yosemite and SEKI

Postby markskor » Mon Feb 23, 2015 10:41 pm

If you would have introduced his petition being neutral - minus the blatant pro-ursack undertones - just asking that Yosemite honestly re-open/revisit the issue of using an Ursack vs. using a can in places where food storage is required, and then asking me to sign it, I might have, (if only to put an end to this damn foolishness.) However, (IMHO), given enough time, the Ursack never has/ never will work effectively against a determined bear, invites future bear/human interaction, and should not be sanctioned anywhere Sierra, much less Yosemite. As the petition reads now, it sounds like if you signed, you would be agreeing with a biased pro position. This would not be my intention, thus, not signed.

Additionally, I have sent my own letters to Yosemite, imploring the "powers that be" not to allow Ursacks as a sanctioned food storage device inside the park. I hope others here do the same.
sent to : yose_superintendent@nps.gov
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Re: The necessity of a bear canister

Postby ciclista » Mon Feb 23, 2015 11:43 pm

I saw the request to sign the Ursack petition because I'm in the FB group for the JMT. My first thought was, what am I going to do with a week's worth of food after a bear has clawed, grabbed, and chewed on the soft package containing the food?

Some years ago a bear borrowed my wife's pack before she'd had a chance to put her food into the group's canister while setting up camp. The bear took all of her food, except the coffee. So there you go.
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Re: Petition to Allow Ursack in Yosemite and SEKI

Postby HiSierra » Tue Feb 24, 2015 8:08 am

It should be no surprise that a petition would be biased since they are intended to create a specific outcome. As an owner of Ursacks and Bear Vaults, I happen to be in favor of the specific outcome expressed in this petition. I would very much like the choice of using my Ursacks in Yosemite and SEKI, as I do legally in Inyo NF and elsewhere in the Sierra.
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Re: The necessity of a bear canister

Postby HiSierra » Tue Feb 24, 2015 8:26 am

Just getting the word out there for those in favor. Those opposed might want to start a petition as well.

The strong opinions about this issue are well documented. I appreciate the quality moderation here on HST that keeps it civil.
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Petition to Allow Ursack in Yosemite and SEKI

Postby HiSierra » Tue Feb 24, 2015 6:49 pm

This thread was moved off the Backpacking forum and then merged with a Gear thread with an opposing opinion called, "The necessity of using a bear canister." I can understand moving it to the Gear forum, but merging it like this seems a bit of an over reaction. Just saying.

Yosemite reported dozens of wilderness human-bear incidents last year with bear resistant canister requirements in place. In fact, those bear incidents were used as part of the justification for the new exit permit over Donahue Pass. So its a fact that the current regulations are not a complete and perfect solution either.

So what would the effect be of allowing the new model Ursack, certified by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, in Yosemite and SEKI? Would the total number of human-bear incidents go up or down? Would humans be less vigilant than they are now with a canister requirement? Would more people use an Ursack rather than a stuff sack? We can all speculate till the glaciers melt, but there's really only one way to find out - a fair trial with a scientific assessment of the data relative the current baseline condition. Given the emotional baggage with this issue, that outcome is highly unlikely. All it will take is one well-publicized incident for those opposed to say, "I told you so." Never mind the other 35 bear canister incidents.

So fear not one petition. The odds of this bear resistant solution getting a fair test are quite slim, in my humble opinion.
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Re: Petition to Allow Ursack in Yosemite and SEKI

Postby HiSierra » Tue Feb 24, 2015 6:50 pm

I reposted the above message thinking it might be allowed since I did not include the link to the petition. Let's see what happens.
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Re: Petition to Allow Ursack in Yosemite and SEKI

Postby ERIC » Tue Feb 24, 2015 7:31 pm

HiSierra wrote:This thread was moved off the Backpacking forum and then merged with a Gear thread with an opposing opinion called, "The necessity of using a bear canister." I can understand moving it to the Gear forum, but merging it like this seems a bit of an over reaction. Just saying.


Wow. Really? I was polite and thought we were having a nice PM discussion this morning about my reasons for moving it how I did. Thought I was even being open to moderation suggestions. Despite that, for some unknown reason, you've decided to take it upon yourself to post this publicly. Seems a bit of an overreaction - just sayin'.
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Re: Petition to Allow Ursack in Yosemite and SEKI

Postby ERIC » Tue Feb 24, 2015 7:38 pm

HiSierra wrote:I reposted the above message thinking it might be allowed since I did not include the link to the petition. Let's see what happens.


Umm, you could have just asked me? Didn't delete any posts or your link in the other thread, BTW.

EDIT: I've merged all related threads. A bit of a mess, but IMO less messy than the three or four individual threads on the same or similar subject.
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Re: The necessity of a bear canister

Postby HiSierra » Tue Feb 24, 2015 10:59 pm

Sorry Eric for starting a new thread. I didn't think that would be a big deal as long as it was here in the Gear forum.

In reading the recent posts on this topic I see some people thinking this is about Grizzly bears, perhaps confused because the Ursack was certified by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee. The Ursack was tested on Grizzly bears, but we only have Black bears here in California. I think most people realize that, but yet the discussion gets sidetracked.

Everyone should realize there is no perfect solution to managing the human-food-bear challenge, including the current policy. I'm personally skeptical about how well people will tie off the Ursack, and I share some of the other legitimate concerns. But on the other hand I see people not being able to fit all their food in a rented bear canister, or not using them at all because they're too heavy or won't fit in their pack. Ursacks would improve compliance for some of these situations, but the end result is uncertain. I also see Ursacks working just fine in other jurisdictions, but then again the bear problem is particularly difficult in Yosemite and SEKI.

There are many ways to test these out first with control groups and backcountry Rangers. There are aluminum liners that can be required and they can also be counterbalanced. In any case, the policy on this can be modified or completely reversed in a day, its not carved in granite. Just give it a fair chance without all the emotion.
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Re: The necessity of a bear canister

Postby markskor » Wed Feb 25, 2015 4:36 am

Here at HST, we pride ourselves in having well-educated members, some of the most experienced backpackers, Sierra. We have Rangers, ex-Rangers, OldRangers, SAR personnel...Many here have 40+ years backcountry experience...myself included. We are well-versed in the ways Sierra, and make logical decisions based on experiences encountered over the years.
So obviously, you have lots of money invested in your Ursack - obviousy pro-Ursack...but maybe your monetary investment blinds you to the dangers your product imposes on the hiking community. Let me answer some of your questions...
HiSierra wrote: So what would the effect be of allowing the new model Ursack, certified by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, in Yosemite and SEKI? Would the total number of human-bear incidents go up or down?

This one is easy - incidents would rise as bears soon enough discover food is now more easily available from backpackers - those carrying soft bags vs. hard sided canisters.
HiSierra wrote:Would humans be less vigilant than they are now with a canister requirement?

Humans would be forced to be more vigilant, especially at night, (less sleep) as bears can/will obtain a taste of food from the ursack - might take a while but bears gnawin all night, food hung or not, a soft-sided sack enables food to be crushed inside.
HiSierra wrote:Would more people use an Ursack rather than a stuff sack?

Here your product does have value - against critters who cannot pick up and walk off with the back-counry food cache... Marmots, squirrels, and mice. Against bears though, maybe initially some would try the ursack for the 1 pound weight savings but, as in the past, would soon discover a soft sack doesn't work effectively (actually invites bears into camp)...even if used as directed. BTW, are you wiling to take responsibility for your product being the direct cause of any injuries or deaths - man or bear - that result from use of your product?
HiSierra wrote: ...asking for fair trial with a scientific assessment of the data relative the current baseline condition.

BTW, nice that you came off your high horse and are now only pleading for a "Fair test"...IMHO, your product has already been well-tested, weighed, and found lacking, at least in regard to our bears, Sierra.
HiSierra wrote:So fear not one petition. The odds of this bear resistant solution getting a fair test are quite slim, in my humble opinion.

I fear not the petition, but all the the misinformation that it implies.
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Re: The necessity of a bear canister

Postby HiSierra » Wed Feb 25, 2015 7:58 am

Markskor, the Ursack is not "my" product and I actually have invested more money in Bear Vaults and Garcias over my long hiking experience than I have invested Ursacks. Please do no personalize this debate or question my motives. I feel strongly about protecting both bears and humans.

This issue is at turning point with the recent IGBC certification of a new model with an option for an aluminum liner. If you have facts backing up the speculative conclusions about this bear resistant container, please provide scientific evidence. Anecdotal stories abound on both sides of the debate, so lets stick to the facts. This is about managing a problem, one that the current policy has not fully solved either with dozens of incidents in Yosemite last year. Nobody is asking someone or some company to take personal responsibility for those incidents.

So far, more than 1,500 people have signed that petition and many have stated reasons why they would like this tool available in Yosemite and SEKI, a tool which has worked well in other areas and is now officially approved by the organization testing these products.
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