I had some questions about bears and how we handle them on the mountain. I thought I would take a few minutes and address this. As you know, if you read the blog, we have had some bear activity. The first signs for us are usually finding fresh scat in camp early in the morning. Now, this is a good sign. This means the bear is only coming thru camp at night. As long as the bear is not causing problems, this is the best time for the bear to move thru camp. Most of the time they are on their way somewhere else.
A problem bear starts coming into camp during the day. This is when it is crucial for us to take action. We first scare the bear out of camp by running after it an yelling and throwing rocks. This works most of the time. We will scare a bear out of camp a couple of times and they move on. We then educate our guests and day hikers on the importance of not leaving anything out. They should take all backpacks, cups, food, drink cans, etc. inside so the bear does not get rewarded for its actions. We also stress for people to keep their doors shut when not in their cabins. A bear is not going to come in the cabin while a person is in it, but it will try if there is no one around. This is how a bear becomes habituated. Education is key. A fed bear is a dead bear. We do not want this to happen. We have been fortunate and not had to euthanize a bear. We try our best to educate people and contact the Park Service as soon as we have a potential problem. Most of the time the Park Service can hike up, trap the bear, and tag it and this works. The bear is so traumatized by the process that it will not come around again. That is exactly the outcome we hope for.
It is crucial that the bears remain wild. I know how cool it is to get to see a bear in the wild. It is even cooler when all you see is their behind running from you because they are truly wild and scared of you. We have to keep it this way. If you are out in the backcountry, take necessary precautions to not bring harm to these animals. Cooking in shelters, leaving trash in pit privies, not hanging your packs up in shelters, and feeding squirrels are all ways of harming wildlife. Enjoy nature with out making an impact on it.
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2017 Mt. LeConte Weather Data (Year-to-Date)