Returned from a nice Yosemite camping, day-hiking trip where we attended a Yosemite bears lecture. The excellent ranger/wildlife specialist gave the history of how we "domesticated" the bears and since closing the final garbage dump have been trying to make them wild again. Backpackers know this is a long, laborious process and thus, my tie-in.
She noted a current camping closure at Snow Creek, a trail I was unfamiliar with. Here are the trail and closure area. Seems last year a lone (they hope) female bear learned a little trick: "If I knock this canister off that cliff, I can go to the bottom and have a great meal!"
She was responsible for dozens of canister thefts and to break the habit the park decided to close camping there to force her to find another food source and not teach her cubs this great new trick. A look at the map shows the handy cliff and the reason I didn't bother asking whether any particular model of can would survive the fall. The answer is clearly "none." Ironically, an Ursack might be better there, being tethered and not rigid.
Anyway, my takeaway is never place my can where a casual swat might send it off on some journey. In the meantime, Snow Creek is for (ambitious--wow that's steep) day hikers. Their efforts might be paying off because to date, bear incidents are down by more than half over last year.
GOALLLLLLLLLL! Or is it Home Run! ? I can easily see that happening. The only time my canister has been tested was on a backwoods pond in Vermont. The bear rolled my Garcia around a bit then left it alone. After that, I hung it with a kitchen garbage bag. I can't imagine how far a bear could bat a canister if it tried. It would be like a strong human hitting a handball. My wife has admonished me several times to put the can where it can't roll. Now I know to listen better.
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Actually, hanging up the bear canister will make it more attractive to bears, many of whom have learned to regard a hanging bag as a piñata full of treats. It also gives the bear a convenient way to carry the canister.
It's usually fairly easy to find a depression or a spot surrounded by rocks/logs/what have you so the bear can't roll it away.
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey
Sorry, not where I live, OM. In the usual area trafficked by bears like Yosemite, I'd agree. I hike many places others don't and used that one night in a pine forest with duff and small sticks. Notice I used "hung" as in past tense, as in implying the one time use. I've used my canister on many trips in the Sierra and never hung it. Thanks for pouncing on my mistake. Many places still recommend hanging, however.
We have an even easier way to avoid bear problems. Avoid people. We never hike in highly popular backpacking areas, even in the Sierra, and we've only seen about four bears in the backcountry about fifty trips.
No, we don't hike the John Muir Trail much, rarely camp where the traffic has created enough problems for bear boxes. It works great!
(I'm only sort of kidding here--people are the problem, not bears. Avoiding highly trafficked areas really reduces any problems with bears.)