A Preliminary Evaluation of the Human/Bear Management Program, Yosemite National Park, 1981 – 1985

Webb, M. G. and J. A. Keay. 1986. A preliminary evaluation of the human/bear management program, Yosemite National Park, 1981 – 1985. Unpublished manuscript. 47pp.

ABSTRACT: The Human/Bear Management plan in Yosemite National Park was evaluated for the years 1981 through 1985, and data were presented from the entire 11-year history of the program. The program consists of 5 basic elements: 1) public information and education; 2) removal of artificial food sources; 3) enforcement or regulations; 4) control of conditioned bears; and 5) research and monitoring. Each program element was evaluated and recommendations for improvement were presented. Available data indicated that the program was very effective in solving the frontcountry problems during the first years but reached a plateau in the late 1970’s. Data also suggested that no real progress had been made in the backcountry situation although a slight decline over the last 4 years was encouraging.

The most important recommendations, in priority order were: 1) Conduct a detailed analysis of historic bear data and build a computer model that will assess the potential impacts of the management program on the bear population, and provide management recommendations (see pages 22-23 for further discussion), 2) Increase the capture/tagging effort in the backcountry and frontcountry to obtain reproduction and other population characteristics for use in bear population monitoring, and to assess the significance of the backcountry problem, 3) Support the continued development of bear-proof food containers, 4) Install food storage lockers in every frontcountry campsite, 5) Develop a computerized bear information system to support data analysis for population and incident monitoring, program evaluation, and more informative and frequent reports.