Bears

Mickey
How do you become a ranger?
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Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, Bears, Bird Watching, Deer, Guided Tours, Elk, Gear, Ranger-led Programs, Moose, Wolves, Camping, Kids Activities, Safety, Volcanology
10 years ago
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Your question is a popular one! For more about becoming a National Park ranger, check out this answer from our partners at the Association of National Park Rangers.

 For more about becoming at sate park ranger, check out this answer.

10 years ago
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This answer come to you from our partners at the Association of National Park Rangers. We hope you find it helpful:

The National Park Service (NPS) employs people in all kinds of job titles (20,000 year-round and another 7,000 - 10,000 during the summer) even though the general public often thinks that everyone that works for the NPS is a "park ranger."  Of these 30,000 employees, perhaps 7,000 are in positions that are titled park ranger.  I'll concentrate on those for now, but folks interested in maintenance jobs, or administrative jobs, or research and science related jobs should know that those jobs are there too.
 
Park ranger jobs are divided into 2 groups.  First, there are park rangers that primarily perform park interpretation.  These employees work in the park visitors' center, lead guided walks and talks, give off-site programs at local schools, establish and/or modify the park's website, write site-specific brochures and other materials, and design visitor center displays or movies, etc.  In short, this group of park rangers is the parks' primary link between the park resources and park visitors and neighbors.  By explaining the national significance of the individual park and the resources it preserves, interpretive park rangers hope to establish or strengthen visitors' understanding and support for parks, the environment, history, etc.
 
The second group of park rangers are those that primarily perform park protection.  These employees perform law enforcement, search and rescue, emergency medical services, fire management, etc.  They are more likely to be working outside, in all kinds of weather conditions, and they might be doing this in all kinds of modes of transportation, i.e. on foot, on horseback, in vehicles, in boats, on skis, in small planes, etc.  Like interpretive rangers, protection rangers have a great responsibility to be knowledgeable about the parks' resources and threats (from human behavior) to them.  While they have many friendly, informational contacts with visitors, they also have visitor contacts that are sometimes confrontational and can be stressful.
 
For either type of ranger job, a bachelor's degree from a 4-year college or university with a heavy emphasis in the natural sciences or U.S. history is generally required to be competitive.  Any public speaking experience one can gain is also very helpful.  First aid training is available in most communities and having some level of certification in first aid and CPR is helpful.  There is also free online training to anyone at the Eppley Institute for Parks & Public Lands at Indiana University. Such training helps one understand the NPS mission and culture and shows prospective hiring officials that you are truly interested in becoming an NPS employee.
 
Many folks that hope to be interpretive park rangers often start out working as park volunteers while they are in school or are in some other full-time career.  These opportunities are available at all NPS sites including Lake Mead National Recreation Area just outside Las Vegas.
 
For protection rangers there are a few additional requirements.  You must be at least 21 years old.  You also must be a graduate of one of the NPS-approved Seasonal Law Enforcement Training Academies.  A list of these schools and more information is available online. One can also pursue similar opportunities in your home community to gain experience that might make you more competitive.  Become an ambulance attendant in your community, become a volunteer firefighter with your local fire department or your state forestry department, or become a member of your local community search and rescue squad.
 
Finally, the Association of National Park Rangers (ANPR) is a membership organization open to anyone.  One does not have to be a park ranger or an NPS employee to become an ANPR member.  There are networking and informational opportunities within ANPR that can help one be competitive for NPS jobs, and it is important to understand that it is not just what you know, but also who you know that will help one get their foot in the door with the NPS.  ANPR also offers a publication for sale titled, "Live the Adventure: Join the National Park Service" that can be helpful in understanding the requirements for park ranger jobs.  

For more information about ANPR visit their website.

9 years ago
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Gwen
Are there really only 20-24 black bears in RMNP (pg 56 of the guidebook)? That's surprising since I have seen a total of 3 during 2 visits!
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Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, Bears, Hiking
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According to official park statements, recent research suggests there are 20 to 25 bears in the park, which is one of the lowest densities of black bears in the country. However, over the past five years, park staff have seen an increase in bears seeking and accessing human food.

As a result, backcountry overnight campers are now required to carry bear-proof food canisters.

For more about black bears in Rocky Mountain National Park, check out our answer to a question asked earlier this summer.

10 years ago
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gcampbell
Where is the best place to see wildlife in Yellowstone? Besides seeing Old Faithful, what is the best thing to see in Yellowstone?
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Auto/Motorcycle, Bears
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Your question is a popular one! We've provided some great tips to users in the past, which you can view here.
10 years ago
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Park Love...
Can we motorcycle yellowstone
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Yellowstone National Park, Auto/Motorcycle, Bears, Native American History, Deer, Elk, Moose, Wildflowers
10 years ago
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Absolutely!  I've gone through the park on a bike myself and I'll never forget the experience. If you have the chance, I recommend approaching from the east and taking the Chief Joseph Highway.  Be prepared for significant temperature changes to go along with the major elevation changes.  It seems to change from from summer to winter in a matter of minutes. On my last ride through Yellowstone (in June 2007), there was still snow at the higher elevations.  I recommend dressing in layers and investing in a highly compressible, lightweight down jacket for the trip.  I found myself pulling off to the side of the road on a number of occasions to throw one on under my padded jacket at places like Yellowstone, Crater Lake (in Oregon), Sequoia and Yosemite National Parks to name a few. (Who would think you could get year-round use from a down jacket.)  I have one that I really like from Patagonia that balls up into an inner pocket. You can find many other brands at places like REI, EMS, Dick's, etc. Also, check out the gear store at OhRanger.com for some options using the following link: 

http://www.ohranger.com/gear/search.html?q=down+jacket#http://www.altrec.com/down+jacket/search.htm?...

One note of caution, keep your speed down as you go through the parks, especially at Yellowstone, as there are animals looming around every corner.  There are also a number of construction zones, so be extra careful on the gravel sections that are being reconstructed. If you're lucky, you'll round a corner and see a moose and calf crossing the road, just far enough to be safe (ideally 100 yards minimum distance from bears and wolves, and at least 25 yards from other wildlife).  I had this experience on the pass coming into the park. If you do encounter an animal, drive slowly and give it a wide-berth, as the one constant about wildlife is that wild animals are unpredictable.  Finally, I recommend against driving at night, as the roads are dark and many animals find it easier to walk on the pavement than in the dirt.  Bison are especially dangerous, as they sometimes lay down in the middle of the road and there's nothing reflective about their anatomy, so you may not see the until the last-minute.  Numerous animals die every year due to collisions in our parks.  A little precaution will keep your rubber side down and ensure you a fantastic time in the park.  

I welcome you to come back often to OhRanger.com to share your experiences, ask more questions and apply your own knowledge to answer the questions of your fellow park-lovers!  

Happy riding...

10 years ago
00
Park Love...
Where are some good camp sites that dont have bear boxes in california?
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California, Bears, Camping
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You will find campgrounds in Death Valley and Channel Islands National Parks that do not contain bear boxes. Enjoy your trip!


10 years ago
00
Park Love...
How many bears are there in Rocky mountain national Park?
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Bears
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In Rocky Mountain National Park and neighboring towns. black bear sightings have increased the past several years, but no more than a hundred bears inhabit the parks. There are no grizzly bear in the park.

Only the black bear is known to exist in Rocky Mountain National Park. Because they avoid humans, they are not often seen. Its northern cousin, the grizzly bear is no longer found in Colorado.

Physical Appearance

Black bears are not always black. Frequently they are brown or cinnamon colored. Its body is heavy and is supported by short, powerful legs. They vary in size and weight: males reaching as much as 500 pounds and measuring about three feet high when on all four feet and five feet tall standing upright. Females may reach 200 pounds.

Habitat

A black bear has a home range where it finds all it needs. It travels to different areas of its home range as snow recedes, plants sprout, and berries ripen. This range may be anywhere from 10 to 250 square miles. Black bears are excellent tree climbers. They are fast-moving and can easily outrun the quickest human.

Food Storage

Black bears will eat almost anything. Most conflicts between bears and people are linked to careless handling of food or garbage. Once a bear has found food which is easily accessible, it will overcome its wariness of people and visit the site often. If you are on the trail, keep food with you at all times and do not leave your pack unattended. At backcountry campsites, all food, cooking equipment, garbage, and scented or odorous items must be stored in a carry-in/carry-out bear-resistant food storage canister (required May - Oct for all backcountry sites below treeline). In campgrounds, these items as well as water containers and pet food must be stored in a closed vehicle or campground-provided food storage locker. Storage in tents, pop-up campers, sleeping bags or under tarps is prohibited. If left unattended, these items are subject to confiscation by park rangers. The only exceptions to these rules occur during food transport, preparation, eating, and cleanup which rarely kill animals of any great size for food. Bear attacks are very rare, but possible.


10 years ago
00
Park Love...
Why do you track bears in Yosemite Valley?
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Yosemite National Park, California, Bears
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An estimated 300 to 500 American black bears live in Yosemite National Park. The park staff participates in the Sierra Interagency Black Bear Group, which is comprised of wildlife biologists, recreation managers, and wilderness managers from the national parks and national forests of the Sierra Nevada, to help track and manage the local bear population.

The population of black bears has been expanding into the region and a growing challenge for bear-human coexistence has been created by an increasing annual visitation to the Sierra Nevada region, loss of suitable bear habitat in the lower elevations, and the long-lasting effects of human carelessness with food storage and garbage disposal. While a vast majority of the Sierra black bear population lives an entire 10-30 year lifespan without coming into contact with humans, others are not so fortunate.

Some black bears in the Sierra Nevada have learned to capitalize on opportunities to dine on unprotected garbage sources or food that has been left unsecured. These bears, unfortunately, are at risk of being killed by hunters, park, forest, or state biologists, poachers, and motor vehicles.

In recognition that black bears and bear-human conflicts are both expanding in range and severity, national parks and forests in the Sierra have formed a cooperative workgroup to the tackle bear-human issues. The Sierra Interagency Black Bear Group meets annually to discuss trends in black bear activity and to form policy amendments to try and protect both bears and those who encounter bears while enjoying the Sierras.

10 years ago
00
Park Love...
What are the chances of encountering a bear while hiking at Yellowstone?
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Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, Backpacking, Bears, Trail Running, Flora & Fauna, Hiking, RVing
10 years ago
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The chances of encountering a bear anywhere are greatly reduced if you follow some basic bear safety information.  Check out the home page of OhRanger.com for a brief video on how to stay safe in bear country.  Make your presence known by making noise and being aware of your surroundings.  In Yellowstone, you could encounter both grizzly and black bears, so be sure to know the difference (it's explained in the video).  Also, know that most bear encounters are a result of humans either having really bad luck (e.g. accidently rounding a bend and coming between a mother and her cubs) or from doing something stupid, like running away.  Bears are faster than you and, if you run, they assume you're something worth chasing.  Since there are significant differences in what to do if you accidentally encounter a grizzly vs. a black bear, please watch the video so you'll know before you go.  

In general, the odds of being attacked by a bear out on the trail are low, especially in proportion to the 4.5 million visitor that go to Yellowstone each year.  If you're lucky, you'll get to see one from a safe distance, as they're awesome to watch in their natural habitat. Remember, park regulations require that you stay 100 yards away from bears and wolves and at least 25 yards from all other animals.  I'd rather be safe than sorry, so I try to keep even more distance between me and anything in nature that's completely unpredictable. (A bull bison once snuck up on me when I had my back turned on a small herd at Badlands that was about 300 yards away. Everything worked out okay, as I think he was just curious, but he came within 25 yards of me and it was pretty scary!)  

One more point about the bears at Yellowstone, word about their whereabouts spreads pretty quickly, so check in with a ranger or at a visitor center before you venture out to see if there were any recent sightings.  Have fun and let everyone know about your experiences here at OhRanger.com (maybe even post a picture of a bear if you're lucky enough to see one)!

10 years ago
00
Park Love...
What are the regulations regarding firearms in the parks?
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Shenandoah National Park, Virginia, Backpacking, Bears, Canoeing, Kayaking, Bird Watching, Deer, Gear, Flora & Fauna, Mountain Lions, Camping, Climbing, Picnicking
10 years ago
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As of now, firearms are not allowed in national parks.

Although a new law permitting concealed loaded firearms at national parks was passed in May, it will not take effect until February. The Interior Department will continue to enforce current restrictions until then.

Under the current regulation, firearms are generally prohibited in national parks, but citizens may transport unloaded and dismantled or cased firearms and carry firearms while participating in approved hunting programs and under certain other circumstances, according to a Department of Interior spokesperson.

Please remember that firearms regulations may vary by park. Check with the National Park Service or the park you plan to visit before your trip for most up-to-date information.


10 years ago
00
gfawson
Do the campgrounds in Yellowstone have bear boxes?
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Yellowstone National Park, Bears, Camping
10 years ago
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Yes there are bear-proof lockers throughout the campgrounds and they are about  24x24x48. Because there are not lockers for each campsite you will most likely share with a neighboring campsite. Enjoy your trip and be sure to stop back in at OhRanger.com and tell us how it went!
10 years ago
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