A Practical Guide to Bear Country
Dealing with a public that's "on vacation" – whether they're hiking or picnicking for the day or camping for a couple of weeks – is a never-ending challenge for all land management agencies. You've got people who know nothing about bears. People who know just enough to be dangerous. And people who know the rules, but don't think they apply to them. ("Oh, let's leave the cooler in the tent just this once...") To protect bears and people, you have to find ways to get through to everyone. And sometimes you have to look for uncommon solutions to all too common problems.
Bear education at Yosemite National Park (left) and Great Smoky Mountains National Park
"Education is key....Living with Bears gives a clear understanding on bear behavior and essential information for humans to protect themselves and their property while giving bears the opportunity to live the long, natural healthy lives they deserve."Tori Seher, Wildlife Biologist
"I love the fast sound-bite style that concisely captures some complex issues. It is an excellent book. I'm recommending it be carried at all our visitor centers and other national forests that have bears."Carrie Sekerak, Wildlife Biologist, Ocala National Forest – Florida
Great Smoky Mountains National Park has two black bears per square mile, and ten million visitors a years. One big problem was mounds of garbage that overflowed the bear-resistant dumpsters by evening, because the maintenance crew went off duty at 3:30, several hours before picnic grounds closed. Interns and biotechs monitored all the worst sites, documented the problems and inundated the head of the janitorial staff with photos. The maintenance staff talked it over and volunteered to change their hours. They now work from 1:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., and the most problematic picnic grounds now close at 8:00 p.m. so they can empty the dumpsters before the sun goes down and the bears come out.
Copyright 2011-2013 Living With Bears / Linda Masterson