Bear Jams in the Chicago Tribune

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GreatGrayOwl
Posts: 22
Joined: Fri Jul 28, 2017 6:10 pm

Bear Jams in the Chicago Tribune

Post by GreatGrayOwl »

Yellowstone op-ed on bear-traffic jams.

https://www.chicagotribune.com/opinion/ ... story.html



RikWriter
Posts: 415
Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2017 8:36 pm

Re: Bear Jams in the Chicago Tribune

Post by RikWriter »

Of course, that also ignores the fact that it's way too wet to hike right in the backcountry right now.



Mike W.
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Joined: Mon Aug 14, 2017 2:11 pm
Location: Far, far north edge of SF Bay Area

Re: Bear Jams in the Chicago Tribune

Post by Mike W. »

Yada Yada Yada, talk about a shallow editorial. Bear jams are nothing now, bison to me seem to cause more and will sometimes just hang out in the road for extended periods of time, which is ok, it's their park and home. But the writer should have seen what it was like in the 60s, or watch some videos from that era and compare. People feeding bears from cars and all. That was a problem.



GreatGrayOwl
Posts: 22
Joined: Fri Jul 28, 2017 6:10 pm

Re: Bear Jams in the Chicago Tribune

Post by GreatGrayOwl »

I do appreciate his urging people to get out of their cars.



RikWriter
Posts: 415
Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2017 8:36 pm

Re: Bear Jams in the Chicago Tribune

Post by RikWriter »

GreatGrayOwl wrote:
Mon Jun 20, 2022 1:22 pm
I do appreciate his urging people to get out of their cars.
Only if they don't park them in the middle of the road first :mrgreen:



karenandbill
Posts: 166
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2020 10:55 am

Re: Bear Jams in the Chicago Tribune

Post by karenandbill »

Mike W. wrote:
Mon Jun 20, 2022 12:50 pm
Yada Yada Yada, talk about a shallow editorial. Bear jams are nothing now, bison to me seem to cause more and will sometimes just hang out in the road for extended periods of time, which is ok, it's their park and home.
Yes, a rather simple take on a very complex problem. Characterizing that the solution is to stop looking at bears and have more people hike the trails is naive at best. The problem is that there are too many people who want to come and enjoy the park, period, whether it be on the road, at the geyser basins, or on the trails. I can't blame them--I am one of those people.

The 98% statistic is outdated and simply not accurate anymore. Karen and I day hike a lot both in and just outside the park. We have been amazed how the trail traffic has dramatically increased since our first visit in 2008. Finding solitude is a real challenge in the shoulder seasons and virtually impossible during peak visitation. I'm not trying to offend horse lovers as Karen is one, but the horseback riders have really added to the overcrowding on the trails. They start earlier and earlier it seems each year, tearing up the trails and making it very unpleasant to follow after they have been through. After all the rain we've had recently, there were 2 large horse trailers parked at a trailhead we passed on the west side today. That trail will be a muddy mess after the horses have been through.

So what's the solution? There is no easy answer, but there are few things that could help IMO.
1. Increase ranger presence to assist with traffic control around bear/bison jams and in busy areas of the park. We just returned from Banff/Jasper and they seem to have more rangers assisting with traffic/parking and just being present.
2. Increase fees to international tourists to help finance additional employees. Now that Covid has waned, international tourism appears to be on the increase. I would also increase fees to commercial tours and outfitters as well.
3. Increase the number of trails available for hiking. Most trails in the park are from the CCC era or earlier. There are vast areas of the park that could be made available by building some new trails. I realize that it is important to preserve some areas, but we could add a few more trails.
4. Designate more trails for hiking only and strictly limit the horseback riding season to when the trails are not ruined by the horses.
5. Require an online visitor orientation completed ahead of time before a pass can be purchased. This would hopefully reduce some of the behavior that leads to the traffic jams and make it safer for everyone including the animals.

Anyone else have additional or better ideas?

--Bill



Mike W.
Posts: 60
Joined: Mon Aug 14, 2017 2:11 pm
Location: Far, far north edge of SF Bay Area

Re: Bear Jams in the Chicago Tribune

Post by Mike W. »

karenandbill wrote:
Fri Jun 24, 2022 11:14 pm

So what's the solution? There is no easy answer, but there are few things that could help IMO.
Hallelujah! You're preaching to the choir here.
1. Increase ranger presence to assist with traffic control around bear/bison jams and in busy areas of the park. We just returned from Banff/Jasper and they seem to have more rangers assisting with traffic/parking and just being present.
2. Increase fees to international tourists to help finance additional employees. Now that Covid has waned, international tourism appears to be on the increase. I would also increase fees to commercial tours and outfitters as well.
3. Increase the number of trails available for hiking. Most trails in the park are from the CCC era or earlier. There are vast areas of the park that could be made available by building some new trails. I realize that it is important to preserve some areas, but we could add a few more trails.
4. Designate more trails for hiking only and strictly limit the horseback riding season to when the trails are not ruined by the horses.
5. Require an online visitor orientation completed ahead of time before a pass can be purchased. This would hopefully reduce some of the behavior that leads to the traffic jams and make it safer for everyone including the animals.

Anyone else have additional or better ideas?

--Bill
More rangers? Eh, if they're the good ones, the helpful ones, maybe. If they're the dimwitted cops, I'd rather not.

Increase fees for international visitors! Absolutely, I've been screaming about that for years. Our taxes help support parks, along with our entrance fees, or of course passes. But our international visitors only pay to get in, not the tax portion so I feel like we're subsidizing them. A US vacation is expensive for them, but a bit more for entrance I suspect would be minimal and highly affordable. I actually enjoy their presence and the different languages, but I wish the structure would make them pay their own way. The buses? My gawd, how can so many rude people be in one group. And they pay next to nothing for entry, again, due to the fee structure.

Hiking trails, Sure, I'm up, I'll do a few miles but I'm no backpacker.

Horses. I haven't actually seen as many problems in Yellowstone as other parks, but I can't disagree either. They're a luxury for a few that has disproportionate impact on everyone else.

Online visitor orientation? I'm skeptical. I think for most a visit to Yellowstone is a once in a lifetime event and short of draconian penalties, most behavior is not going to change by a small seminar.



karenandbill
Posts: 166
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2020 10:55 am

Re: Bear Jams in the Chicago Tribune

Post by karenandbill »

Yeah, agree totally. Maybe coincidence, but since the pandemic started, the rangers seem to be a bit more laid back.

I also enjoy many of the international visitors (some are obnoxious, but so are some from the US). But they need to pay their fair share.

You're probably right about the orientation. But I have seen such stupid behavior around the animals and in traffic. I'm just thinking if they saw some stuff on a screen, it may cause some of them to not repeat the same stupid mistakes.



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