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Petition to Allow Ursack in Yosemite and SEKI

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Re: The necessity of a bear canister

Postby markskor » Wed Feb 25, 2015 8:42 am

HiSierra wrote:Please do no personalize this debate or question my motives. I feel strongly about protecting both bears and humans.

Then stop using the word "I"...you already have "personalized" this many times prior.

HiSierra wrote:Anecdotal stories abound on both sides of the debate, so lets stick to the facts.

The facts are (have seen this myself...numerous occasions Sierra) is that the ursack does not work effectively against bears...other critters yes, Sierra bears, not so much.
HiSierra wrote: Nobody is asking someone or some company to take personal responsibility for those incidents.
You are advocating using/selling your device that ultimately results in bears being put down...your petition, your product...but no responsibility taken? ARGH! Much like the Corvair...unsafe at any speed.

HiSierra wrote: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.

Wow, your petition is on at least 7 other backpacking sites and all of 1500 signers..Impressive! Just think of how many signers you would have if your ursack really worked? You can fool some of the people, all of the time...does not make it a better/viable product.
Bottom line, no matter how you spin it, a soft-sided sack DOES NOT WORK against bears - Sierra!
Mountainman who swims with trout



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Re: Petition to Allow Ursack in Yosemite and SEKI

Postby ciclista » Wed Feb 25, 2015 9:35 am

Since there's been a desire from both sides about sticking to "facts"...

It's been mentioned that there were numerous bear vs human food incidents last year in Yosemite. Does this mean the bear got the food out of a properly used, approved cannister? How often/what percentage of user nights?

Where is the proof that Sierra bears got the food out of a properly-hung Ursack?

We've been backpacking outside of bear country lately (in Henry Coe Park), and as an experiment, we've put food into LokSacks (clear, "scentproof" ziploc bags) and left some laying out on the ground at night for three nights, and nothing has even attempted to get the food. How well would these bags work inside of a properly-hung Ursak?
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Re: Petition to Allow Ursack in Yosemite and SEKI

Postby Hobbes » Wed Feb 25, 2015 10:05 am

I use the 12.5x20 OPsack (SKU OP3-12X20) inside the Ursack S29 AllWhite (IGBC cert. no. 3738):

http://www.loksak.com/products/opsak

As most know, the absolute critical element about using the Ursack is knowing how to properly tie knots. Rangers aren't going deal with clogged lines of people demonstrating knot tying ability when issuing permits. However, it seems reasonable to suggest that perhaps an annual permit - heck, charge $20 - could be issued to those who demonstrate how to properly use the device.

I would gladly pay $20 to have a 'Ursack license' - sort of like a DFG annual fishing license - that would allow me to travel through bear canister areas without getting hassled. Nowadays, like all the rest of the sheep, I dutifully bring along a can, even if I'm only in a can required area for a day, just to avoid dealing with backcountry rangers.
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Re: Petition to Allow Ursack in Yosemite and SEKI

Postby sparky » Wed Feb 25, 2015 11:09 am

About the testing....circus grizzlies vs starving yosemite bears.....hmmm.....I bet the valley locals would just gnaw on an ursack for days. A fat well fed circus bear....not so much.

per their testing protocol

If the product is not breached within the required 60 minutes of bear contact time, it will be considered to have "passed" the live-bear test.
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Re: Petition to Allow Ursack in Yosemite and SEKI

Postby rlown » Wed Feb 25, 2015 12:02 pm

Just do a Google search on ursack failures. you should get something like this:
https://www.google.com/search?q=ursack+ ... 2&ie=UTF-8

Then read: https://giantdumpster.wordpress.com/tag/ursack-failure/

or any of the other myriad of failure reports in the search results.

60 minutes of play doesn't equate to a nighttime of torment.

(yeah, I said I was done with this thread, but your choice of an Ursack will impact me if the bears learn again that camps are a good food source.)

The liner isn't the answer. Still a night time chew toy.

EDIT: to be fair you can put in any bear can name and failure in the search engine to get comparisons/reasons for failure.
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Re: The necessity of a bear canister

Postby Fly Guy Dave » Wed Feb 25, 2015 12:46 pm

rlown wrote:
Fly Guy Dave wrote:When I was on a sea kayak trip along Seymour Canal, paralleling Admiralty Island in Alaska, there were plenty of grizzly bears around (we saw almost two dozen in a week and a half), the rangers at Pack Creek told us that all we had to do was hang our food high in the trees, as the grizzlies were too big and fat to climb up, so no bear cans were necessary. Grizzlies back in the Sierra? A can of bear spray weighs a lot less than a bear can! ;)


I'm not going to sit there all night with a can of spray. The can lets you sleep and the bear says, "um, ok. next camp."

I'm done with this thread. Make you own call. Good luck.


In all honesty, my post was made as a joke. Yes, grizzlies are too big to climb trees so a bear can isn't necessary up in Alaska, but the idea of reintroducing them into the Sierra is really far-fetched and I really doubt that it would ever happen. As far as the use of an ursack versus a can...well...as much a I hate the weight and bulk of a can, I always use one. I have seen ursacks that have been extensively chewed on by a black bear and they did indeed hold up. However, the food was so crushed, slobbered on and absolutely inedible afterwards, it totally defeated the purpose. Also, I imagine the bear did get a taste of some of the food inside, which would lead to future unfortunate human/bear encounters. All in all a bad idea.
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Re: Petition to Allow Ursack in Yosemite and SEKI

Postby Jimr » Wed Feb 25, 2015 1:24 pm

If you climb a tree to escape a bear, you will immediately know whether it's a black or a brown bear. The black bear will go up the tree after you. The brown bear will push the tree down. :bear:
What?!
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Re: Petition to Allow Ursack in Yosemite and SEKI

Postby HiSierra » Wed Feb 25, 2015 2:18 pm

Markskor, this is not "my product" or "my petition." Hopefully for the last time, I have zero connection with the petition or with Ursack. If after a truly fair test period the Ursack didn't work out in Yosemite or SEKI, I would argue for not allowing them. My main point is to drop the emotion bias and treat this like any other bear resistant product that may have a place in wilderness management.

With the certification of the improved model it seems prudent for wilderness managers to give it a fair trial. Its logical to assume that a lighter and more flexible product should encourage greater compliance. Offsetting that possible benefit, its also logical to assume there could be more human errors due to the nature of the product. At the end of the season, did overall incidents increase or decrease? Did the severity of incidents increase or decrease? Look at the big picture logically from a management perspective without the emotion.

For places like Yosemite and SEKI with a long history of smart bears getting food from people, the aluminum liner and a OP sak seem like wise requirements in addition to Ursack. Its been shown there is no "seal" that will fool a bear's nose or even a dog's nose, but this combination will make it more difficult for the bear to obtain even a taste of the food. If that proves to be true, then the bears would probably eventually give up like they do with a hard shell canister. All this needs to be field tested in a fair and transparent trial period. Simply assuming bear behavior or human behavior is not science.

Recall it took legal action just to get the IGBC to set up a test protocol and then long delays before they conducted the tests. This shows a documented bias against this product, so the idea of a fair trial might be an illusion if the same bias exists within YNP and SEKI. In contrast, when the lids on Bear Vaults were found to be compromised by some bears, they worked with the company to solve the problem.
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Re: The necessity of a bear canister

Postby ciclista » Wed Feb 25, 2015 2:52 pm

Fly Guy Dave wrote:I have seen ursacks that have been extensively chewed on by a black bear and they did indeed hold up. However, the food was so crushed, slobbered on and absolutely inedible afterwards, it totally defeated the purpose.


It seems to me that trying to sell a product that allows the food to be destroyed by a bear is pointless at best, and disreputable and dangerous at worst. Even in Ursaks's own videos they show that using their method of tying the bag to a tree allows the bear to destroy the food inside (without actually eating it). It seems to me that if you can't secure the bag using the PCT hanging method, the product is nearly useless. So, in areas where hanging food is not allowed, or possible (e.g., above the treeline)... why would anyone want to rely on this product?

If I had to guess, I'd say that the manufacturer has a product that will work where there are no bears, or bears that can't climb trees, and the manufacturer is just trying to expand their market to a new area, even though the product isn't appropriate for that new area.
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Re: Petition to Allow Ursack in Yosemite and SEKI

Postby freestone » Wed Feb 25, 2015 3:54 pm

I am visualizing a Larson Far Side cartoon with 2 bears playing tetherball with one of these! :)

Let me add somemore meaningless information to this discussion... There were no reported Ursack failures on the 2014 JMT equipment failure list recently published. Nada.

More meaningful are the reports of pack and pack contents damaged by bears, including damaged sleeping bags. That's serious. No matter what your food is in, the threat to the bear remains, especially in Yosemite, because they are making a multitude of sensual associations that leads up to this type of behavior. I suspect in Yosemite, the mere sight of a human life form with a back bulge, or anything soft lying on the ground, including Ursacks, will get a bear salivating and become fair game. Protecting the bear needs to go way beyond how we carry our food, but as it is now.... I would not sign the petition because the Ursack does not have a designed shape that frustrates and is difficult for the bear to handle. The NPS knows they have a difficult bear protection problem, and allowing this product is not a meaningful step toward solving it.
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Re: Petition to Allow Ursack in Yosemite and SEKI

Postby ciclista » Wed Feb 25, 2015 5:39 pm

freestone wrote: Protecting the bear needs to go way beyond how we carry our food, but as it is now....


CA DFG allowed up to 1,700 bears to be "harvested" in 2014. I would not want to be responsible for a bear getting killed, but isn't it possible that someone in charge somewhere isn't concerned if a few more bears have to be killed each year because of their interactions with humans, and aren't those same people really only concerned that no people get hurt?

https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Hunting/Bear
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Re: Petition to Allow Ursack in Yosemite and SEKI

Postby rlown » Wed Feb 25, 2015 5:56 pm

apples and oranges comparison. Those who actually hunt bear (me) buy tags to do so. "A few more" is because they become problem bears because they become habituated. Those bears that habituate would be the camper and the backpackers fault. National Parks are managed separately from the CDFW for the most part.

CDFW adjusts that number every year based on population. They don't count the bears that are hit by cars in Yose or other places. It's about the hunting tag.

Orthogonal to the bag discussion, but ok..
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