Ursack Lawsuit Moves Ahead
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Dirk Rabdau
(dirk9827) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Ursack Lawsuit Moves Ahead on 02/20/2011 13:11:01 MST Print View

Thought this tidbit gleaned from the Ursack website would be of interest:

February 19, 2010

Ursack's lawsuit against the Sierra Interagency Black Bear Group et al. was heard by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco on February 17, 2011. The three judge panel appeared quite interested in the controversy, and we would expect a ruling well before the summer camping season. If you want to hear the oral argument, you may do so here.

http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/media/view_subpage.php?pk_id=0000007063.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Ursack Lawsuit Moves Ahead on 02/20/2011 13:15:48 MST Print View

Not that I really know, but I thought the SIBBG disbanded itself??

Dirk Rabdau
(dirk9827) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
They did disband on 02/20/2011 13:20:08 MST Print View

You are correct, they did disband. However, I think Ursack would like to see their goods reauthorized for the entire length of the Sierra. Right now, it is still banned in a few areas. But the rules have changed in many parts of the Sierra, I was surprised how many changes to the rules have occurred in the past two years regarding bear canisters.

Dirk

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: They did disband on 02/20/2011 13:25:36 MST Print View

Well, as an owner of an Ursack, I would like to be able to use it once again on Mt. Whitney -- and without the heavy aluminum liner! Assuming it's truly bear proof and all, of course.

Chris Morgan
(ChrisMorgan) - F

Locale: Southern Oregon
Re: Ursack Lawsuit Moves Ahead on 02/20/2011 14:35:42 MST Print View

All very interesting. It sounds like one of the judges lives in bear country and doesn't buy the argument that NPS needs to have stricter standards than the NFS. That being said, it sounds like Ursack needs to show that the agencies' decision to ban was/is arbitrary and capricious. Ursack was arguing that because Bearvault had failures and was not excluded entirely, but Ursack was excluded, indicates that the agencies were being capricious in their regulation. However, the parks and forest services correctly point out that the success/failure ratio (at least in 2007), was substantially higher for Ursack, and that there is a much higher rate of use for Bearvault, making it reasonable to accept improved Bearvaults but not Ursacks.

John Kays
(johnk) - M

Locale: SoCal
Effect of SIBBG Demise on 02/20/2011 15:05:29 MST Print View

Last year the Lone Pine rangers at the visitors' center asked if we intended to use hanging as a method of food protection for a hike thru Cottonwood Lakes. Containers have been required for several years and I was surprised by the question. I was late getting on the trail and the ranger at the desk was a real talker so I didn't pursue this to find out more-just didn't have time.There were a couple of other ranger contacts that gave the impression that anti-bear food storage was a little more flexible than in the recent past. Is the perception correct that there have been some unannounced rule changes?

Edited by johnk on 02/20/2011 15:05:59 MST.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: They did disband on 02/20/2011 15:22:46 MST Print View

"Well, as an owner of an Ursack, I would like to be able to use it once again on Mt. Whitney -- and without the heavy aluminum liner!"

Benjamin, that makes a case for using titanium.

--B.G.--

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Re: Re: They did disband on 02/20/2011 15:43:40 MST Print View

Well for what it is worth. I used my Ursack with an aluminum liner the summer that Ursack was allowed in Inyo going up Whitney...guess what? Nothing happened. We only spent a night at trailcamp which is well above tree line. This could work out well for Ursack.

Edited by kennyhel77 on 02/20/2011 15:56:30 MST.

Devin Montgomery
(dsmontgomery) - MLife

Locale: one snowball away from big trouble
Re: Re: Ursack Lawsuit Moves Ahead on 02/20/2011 16:00:16 MST Print View

Chris - "Arbitrary and capricious"... Ah, Chevron. :)

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Re: They did disband on 02/20/2011 16:20:07 MST Print View

Ken, at Whitney's Trail Camp, about all you really, really, need is marmot protection for your food. Those critters are all over the place. Big fat suckers that look like they've been pigging out on Mountain House for years.

On the other hand, apparently the black bears do cross those mountain passes.

--B.G.--

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
The Canister Myth on 02/20/2011 16:39:58 MST Print View

There is a belief in the PCT community that canisters must be carried from Kennedy Meadows to Sonora Pass. This is just not true and I did an entry in my 2011 TJ that documents where they must be carried and in most cases listed the most up to date info. It can be found here:

http://tinyurl.com/4awy4op

Note that this applies to PCT thru hikers in regards to the storage requirements in SEKI. My understanding from the Ranger is that JMT hikers must carry a canister through the Raes area because there may not be room in the boxes during the high traffic season. Not an issue for the PCTers.

Now, would it be possible to hike from TM across Dorothy Pass in a day? Then I could ditch the canister completely or better yet I can carry my Ursack. Go Ursack!

Edited by gg-man on 02/20/2011 16:42:36 MST.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: The Canister Myth on 02/20/2011 16:44:58 MST Print View

"Note that this applies to PCT thru hikers in regards to the storage requirements in SEKI. My understanding from the Ranger is that JMT hikers must carry a canister through the Raes area because there may not be room in the boxes during the high traffic season. Not an issue for the PCTers."

Why is this not an issue for PCTers? Along the Rae Lakes area, the PCT and JMT are the same.

Are you saying that PCTers get space priority over the JMTers at the boxes?

--B.G.--

David W.
(Davidpcvsamoa) - MLife

Locale: East Bay, CA
Re: Ursack Lawsuit Moves Ahead on 02/20/2011 16:45:38 MST Print View

So if SIBBG no longer exists as an organization, who is in court acting as the defendant? Was the NPS also named by Ursack as a party to the suit?

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Ursack Lawsuit Moves Ahead on 02/20/2011 16:53:11 MST Print View

Pretty much it is Ursack against the combined NPS and FS. And NPS looks to Yosemite as the most advanced in their bear management.

--B.G.--

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Re: Re: Ursack Lawsuit Moves Ahead on 02/20/2011 16:58:56 MST Print View

"Ken, at Whitney's Trail Camp, about all you really, really, need is marmot protection for your food. Those critters are all over the place. Big fat suckers that look like they've been pigging out on Mountain House for years.

On the other hand, apparently the black bears do cross those mountain passes"

Exactly! Hence my above treeline comment. Bears have been known to roam a little more above treeline, but for the most part marmots are the kids you would be protecting against. I feel that if you used your Ursack correctly, that the chances are pretty low that you will have a bear encounter. I also endorse using an odor proof bag like an Opsak

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Re: Ursack Lawsuit Moves Ahead on 02/20/2011 17:19:45 MST Print View

It's always a sight when the poor little marmot is looking up at me, seeming to plead "Oh, Mister Backpacker, won't you feed me just a little? It was a cold winter, and I just don't know if I can make it anymore! More gruel, sir."

Yet that marmot is so fat from Mountain House that its belly is dragging on the ground. And it is not just the fur coat.

One year there was a fat marmot on the summit. I think he was wearing a TSA badge and was offering to do a hand inspection of your food canister.

--B.G.--

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
PCT vs. JMT on 02/20/2011 17:27:20 MST Print View

"Are you saying that PCTers get space priority over the JMTers at the boxes?
"

Not exactly, but they are coming through earlier in the year when there is less demand on the boxes. During peak JMT season all those boxes would be jammed full and if there wasn't enough room there would be unprotected food. There are a lot less PCT hikers and they are moving through the area much faster.

I was pleasantly surprised by this and even confirmed it with the park. I called and the first person told me that everyone needed a canister. When I told her about my conversation wih the ranger she checked and came back with the same story as the ranger. "PCT's don't need to carry canisters but they must use the bear boxes if they don't carry."

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: PCT vs. JMT on 02/20/2011 17:55:54 MST Print View

Maybe I am just trying to game the whole situation.

Why couldn't a JMT hiker get permits for both JMT and PCT? Then, when confronted by a ranger, you could show one permit or the other, just depending on what was to your advantage for that particular place.

Personally, I admit to having used the food storage boxes before in Sequoia. However, I don't like to use them, because it leaves your food vulnerable to other backpackers and their sense about actually locking them or not. Plus, you might want to camp a mile away from the food box. It always seemed like an advantage to have your own bear can and you can put it 25 feet from your own shelter.

--B.G.--

Dirk Rabdau
(dirk9827) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
The Canister Myth on 02/20/2011 18:32:22 MST Print View

Greg -

Thanks for the link. Great stuff.

The rules regarding this have changed quite a bit in the past couple of years as you stated - not in the sense you couldn't use bear boxes but in the sense that it was impractical to do anything but carry a canister since the Ursack did not qualify. I think the PCT community as a whole has been conditioned to think canister since its largely been a requirement over the past decade. Sure there were places where you could use the storage or it wasn't required, but from a practical standpoint, I think carrying form Kennedy Meadows to Sonora Pass (or beyond) made the most sense.

Now, I would be the first to state this: that I was glad to have a canister in bear territory rather than to deal with tying off a Ursack. I have both, the canister I have still can take considerably more food than the Ursack. But that is more a function of the canister. The advantage of the canister is convenience and peace of mind in the Sierra.

Does anyone know if the aluminum insert is required any longer or does the regular ursack (sans insert) suffice?

As long as the Ursack is effective, I am all for carrying one. But in some cases, I would probably still just take the canister for convenience.

Edited by dirk9827 on 02/20/2011 18:33:27 MST.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Re: The Canister Myth on 02/20/2011 19:04:20 MST Print View

Acually, picking it up at MTR, Vermillion or Red's would keep you legal. I will likely carry one from Kearsarge on because it fits in my resupply plan better. Now if the Ursack is reapproved then it's a whole new game.

There is no mention of the Ursack in any of the documents that I've seen.