fishmonger wrote:take a few permits away, fine them. My experience is that about one in five doesn't use a can, and most of them are proud of it. Some sort of PCT hiker's badge of honor - you qualify if you manage to get through the Sierras without a can and leeching most of your food from hiker barrels, while spending your food budget on booze at VVR and ice cream at Mammoth...
I know, I know...
Unfortunately i think you are right about those numbers. To make matters worse there are some very respected Long Distance Hikers that flat out advocate scoffing the canister rules in Seki and Yosemite.
I don't know about booze at VVR, I skipped it, but I think you are right about that too.
The sad fact is that all it takes is one ignorant jerk in our community to poison the well for the rest of us. There is a reason some people react negatively when they see "us" (thru hikers) on trail.
One of the problems is, that the success of those few scofflaws emboldens those that follow.
That is where i was trying to go with my point. If there were a lighter, less bulky method of safe food storage that had a similar success rate as a canister more people would carry it.
Hmm. actually i am looking at this backwards huh?
People should do the right thing because the want to protect the bears ergo the wilderness they are supposedly there to enjoy.
I can't defend the actions of those that choose to skirt the regulations no matter how I spin it.
I really don't know if they would carry and ursack if it were approved either.
On a positive note, Bearvault sells the BV500 and ships to general delivery address for hikers at a discount. Also the Saufley's, a southern California Trail Angel couple, organize a Bear canister loaner program every year. I have my own canister but when i passed through their place they had 20 bear cans waiting to be shipped to Kennedy Meadows(South)!
I will say this. There is a great forum to educate thru hikers in person once a year. The annual ADZPCTKO at Lake Morena country Park in So Cal. A forest service ranger gives a "Bear Talk" each year. The information is out there so those that choose not to carry a bear canister have no excuse.
However on my hike in 2009 I only saw one ranger on the trail in 2,665 miles. It was just after Echo Lake heading in to the Desolation Wilderness.
If someone wanted to truly enforce the Bear canister requirements the place to do it is in Kennedy Meadows South. It's not in Seki but it is the last stop every single Northbound hiker makes before heading into the Sierra. I think if the "Bear Talk" happened there combined with a cannister rental opportunity compliance would undoubtedly be increased.
There i go again looking at the situaction in reverse!
I am caught between two worlds. On one hand I know that cannisters are absolutely saving bears lives in the man habituated area. On the other hand I just got done hiking 5,600 miles and only used a cannister in the 200 miles of required places without incident. I am glad I carried the canister through Seki and Yosemite but honestly did not miss it everywhere else. Nor do I feel it was neccesary anywhere else provided stealth camping techniques are used.
P.S. I am glad i brought this topic up. At first i thought I would get a lot of angry reponses but you have all been thoughtful and productive. That was the spirit and intent of my posting. There are a lot of folks out there that are fronting all kinds of crazy ideas.. anything but carrying a bear canister. By the way.. the Mothball/tobacco sack idea.. That is a horse packers idea! It just illustrates the way each of us, myself included, rationalize our use and misuse of the wilderness.