Author Topic: Bears in the Pacific North West  (Read 6344 times)

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Offline lisap

Bears in the Pacific North West
« on: April 26, 2010, 02:59:34 pm »
I am riding the ACA Washington Parks route this summer and wondered whether I need to get a bear barrel or bag before I set off.

Are they mandatory at the parks or are bear boxes provided within the campsites?

I have ridden in bear country before so am aware of the rules but amazingly enough in over 4000 miles have never seen one, unless you count the stuffed one at Elkhorn Hot Springs.

Thanks

Lisa

Offline cycletwerp

Re: Bears in the Pacific North West
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2010, 03:20:20 pm »
You could always just bring some rope to tie your food etc. up in a tree away from your camping spot.   That's what DH and i did when we went through Yellowstone NP.  You may also want to call ahead, to the campgrounds or the Ranger station,  to see if they do have bear boxes at the campsites.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Bears in the Pacific North West
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2010, 04:56:33 pm »
I have not ridden that route yet, but but did ride through the PNW portion of the TA when we rode the TA in 2007.  Generally anywhere that requires bear canisters in the back country has bear lockers in the camp grounds at least in the national and state parks and forests that I have stayed in.

Not sure where the Roaming-Gnome camped (campgrounds or back country), but I am pretty sure the campgrounds in Yellowstone all have bear boxes.  I know that the ones that we stayed at all did.  If staying in the back country in Yellowstone you are allowed to hang your food.  Read the recommendations for the parks you will camp in, they are generally pretty sensible.

I'd tend to think that if road touring you will have little need for a bear canister.  Someone correct me if I am wrong as we will be riding the new Sierra Cascades route starting in June.

Offline paddleboy17

Re: Bears in the Pacific North West
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2010, 11:22:44 am »
It is always a good idea to hang your food in a bear bag up high in a tree.  There are other woodland creatures that are interested in what you are eathing.  Racoons in particular (I assume those grow out west), are pretty aggressive about food.
Danno

Offline lisap

Re: Bears in the Pacific North West
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2010, 01:13:32 pm »
Thanks for the responses.

I should have added that I am in the UK and we don't get nasty critters in the wild so I like to be prepared. I will most certainly carry some rope so that if I have to hang a pannier I can do so but won't go to the expense of a barrel as it appears they are not absolutely necessary.

staehjp1 please could you let me know how the Cascades go as I would like to ride part of it next year.

Lisa

Offline staehpj1

Re: Bears in the Pacific North West
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2010, 01:23:21 pm »
Thanks for the responses.

I should have added that I am in the UK and we don't get nasty critters in the wild so I like to be prepared. I will most certainly carry some rope so that if I have to hang a pannier I can do so but won't go to the expense of a barrel as it appears they are not absolutely necessary.

staehjp1 please could you let me know how the Cascades go as I would like to ride part of it next year.

Lisa
You will probably hear more from me about it here, but if you want to follow along in our planning and the actual ride I have a journal at:
http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/MountainMan
We actually start in 38 days in San Diego.  Since we are starting in the south it will be a while before we get to the Cascades.

indyfabz

  • Guest
Re: Bears in the Pacific North West
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2010, 01:27:05 pm »
Definitely check with the places you pkan to stay.  For example, the map for Colonial Creek Casmpground (nice place) in the North Cascades N.P. shows bear boxes near some walk-in sites.

As an extra added bonus, allow me to put in plugs for Howard Miller Steelhead Park in Rockport and the Winthrop KOA.  The former has Adirondak Shelters.  Nice if it's been raining.  The latter has sites by the river, lots of grass and is run by a nice family who gave me a cyclist discount.  In fact, since it wasn't crowded he offered to let me have a Kabin for the same price.

Offline lisap

Re: Bears in the Pacific North West
« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2010, 03:07:52 pm »
I have added your crazyguy site to my favourites so I can follow your progress. Have a good tour.

Indyfabz the hint about the Rockport Steelhead Park is useful as the SP that I planned on staying at appears to be closed at the moment.

Not long to go now and I will be on my way and looking forward to it very much.

Offline vanvalks

Re: Bears in the Pacific North West
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2010, 10:49:42 pm »
I've lived in the PNW for about 55 years, and camped in many of the parks and forest service campgrounds, and have never seen a bear there.  That said, there was a bear that took up residence on the median of I-5 last winter, and a trail I ride on weekly has bear, cougar, and lynx sightings on a regular basis.   A 50' lenght of parachute cord if you are stealth camping, or using the available bear boxes in places where they are provided is all you need to do.  The other thing to remember is that for most of the trip, you aren't really that remote--not like northern BC or SE Alaska where it's easy to be literally 50 miles from the nearest person.

Bob

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Bears in the Pacific North West
« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2010, 11:50:57 pm »
I've got 40 years of backpacking and climbing in the PNW and 30 years bike touring, and have seen bears several times in the mountain backcountry, but never, ever had a problem with them.  And I've only hung my food  once, because we had to leave camp all day in a bear infested area in the North Cascades NP to climb a mountain.  Be prudent, follow directions, and be careful in areas where bears have had a chance to get used to lots of people and associate people with food. 
May the wind be at your back!

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Bears in the Pacific North West
« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2010, 11:55:06 pm »
we will be riding the new Sierra Cascades route starting in June.
Staehpj--this is great news.  Your Transam trip report is one of my all time favorites.  I look forward to following this one, too.  And, I look forward to biking parts or all of the Sierra route 2011--I hope!

Thanks for sharing your trips the way you do.
Doug
May the wind be at your back!

Offline staehpj1

Re: Bears in the Pacific North West
« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2010, 06:27:36 am »
we will be riding the new Sierra Cascades route starting in June.
Staehpj--this is great news.  Your Transam trip report is one of my all time favorites.  I look forward to following this one, too.  And, I look forward to biking parts or all of the Sierra route 2011--I hope!

Thanks for sharing your trips the way you do.
Doug
Wow, that is so good to hear.  I am glad when folks enjoy our journals.  Hopefully I can provide some info that will be helpful to you in 2011

indyfabz

  • Guest
Re: Bears in the Pacific North West
« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2010, 10:30:34 am »
Indyfabz the hint about the Rockport Steelhead Park is useful as the SP that I planned on staying at appears to be closed at the moment.

I thought it might be Rockport SP so I looked it up.  It is closed for the reason I thought it would be.  Our group stayed at Steelhead in '99.  The following year I found myself riding part of the NT again and stopped at the entrance to the Rockport SP campground just to check it out.  It was open then, but there were warning signs about the danger posed by falling branches from the old growth trees.  Seems the situation has gotten too dangerous.

Another advantage of Steelhead is that there is an interesting dive bar just above the park.  Among other oddities was a sign explaining that if you use the pool table and knock a ball off the table you are charged 25 cents.

Offline velo

Re: Bears in the Pacific North West
« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2010, 11:35:34 am »
My recommendation would be to call or email the ranger stations in the parks you'll be going though. They will have up to date information about bear activity. Generally though, bear bagging in the backcountry is standard practice.

Having ridden though the North Cascades on the Northern Tier I didn't camp in places with bear lockers. We either hung out food up or just stashed it away from out tents. What ever you do, don't bring food into your tent. I think bear lockers are more common in the Rockies, particularly in Glacier and other national parks.

Offline seattlewoman

Re: Bears in the Pacific North West
« Reply #14 on: April 28, 2010, 01:08:07 pm »
I am a local and I've hiked a lot in Olympic NP. Bring a rope and stuff sack and always hang your food. At some of the ranger stations, e.g., the Wilderness Info Center in Port Angeles you can rent bear barrels, but the expectation is you're returning it after use on your way out. When you hike in ONP nearly all campsites have bear wires, and very few have bear boxes. I don't think you'll be taking your bike on those wilderness trails right [not allowed BTW]. but you can hike the backcountry. You should check with the rangers for permits if you plan to camp.

My one experience with a cyclist dealing with a bear was in British Columbia. I talked to a cyclist from Quebec who was doing a cross country ride. He pulled into a roadside rest stop somewhere on Vancouver Is. While he was using the facilities a bear tore his panniers to shreds [quite the trip souvenir, folks, you should have seen them!]. Likely this bear was doing what they do best: opportunistically raid the garbage can nearby.