I did a consulting job in Yosemite back in the 1970s and visited there a lot. It was a quiet Park then. We climbed Half Dome before permits were required.
The amount of bears in the Valley and the back country at that time was remarkable. I can remember waiting at the shuttle stop to go the Village and three bears came by. We had one in camp on the way to Half Dome. I was staying at Curry Cabins when I was working there. Every morning the same bear was in the dumpster in front of my cabin. I talked to him and called him “Junior.” After a couple of days he heard my voice and did not even look up.
Then the Craighead Brothers figured out that the dumps in the Parks were a huge food supply for bears. They helped get them closed and new designs for dumpsters and garbage cans were used to get bears off human food. For awhile the NPS put out bait with a drug in it that made bears vomit. The bears in the National Parks are now mostly off human food and there are much fewer problems than the previous 100 years.
I guess bears are a lot like people. You come across a lot of really nice ones, but some are crotchety. Then a few are really psychotic, self-center and can’t be trusted. You never know if that Diva Bear" is really a serial killer trying to lure you in.
As I recall, the Curry apple orchard was a favorite fall bear haunt in those days, too. I haven’t been to Yosemite in 35 or more years, and that’s OK. There are so many beautiful places across the country to appreciate nature without crowds, I think I’ll just remember Yosemite as it was.
We have had some very deep snows here in Wyoming. Yesterday and today we are in the high 40s (warmest it’s been since November) Today the winds are blowing at 25 to 45 MPH depending on the area. Here at my house it is blowing at 37 MPH as I write this. So the snow is melting now at a good fast rate and the water will go into any low place it can find. That will include bear dens to many cases, so the bears are starting to emerge from the long winter.
They come out looking for food and with the winter kill, I am sure there is going to be a larger supply of dead deer, elk, moose, and other types of animals after this winter because we also had several weeks of extreme cold. Temps from the north west part of the state all the way down to I-80 ran from -35 to -52 for a few days. We had 22 days here where the temp never hit 0 night or day and that’s very hard of the game herds. So it’s “breakfast time” for a lot of bears and those bears are very stingy over carcasses when they find them.
We have very few bear vs man encounters when they 1st come out simply because the snow, mud and slush is deep enough to keep people out of the mountains when it first starts. But inside a month or maybe 6 weeks it will be “business as usual”
Snow’s melting fast here. Days in the 40s and night getting down in the low teens. That’s good because it delays the melt off some, so flooding is not a danger (Yet. And I hope it doesn’t get that way)
Reports of bears poking around the lower elevations already. Both blacks and grizzlies. I believe winter is loosing the battle.
We still have very little brown showing and it’s 99% white here, but I expect that to change in the next 2-3 days. Snow drifts that were 7 feet tall are now 2 feet and level undrifted snow that was 2-1/2 feet is now 4 -6 inches.
When there are multiple bears being sighted we know that winter is about gone.