Yosemite Becomes Bear Country - KMPH FOX 26 | Central San Joaquin Valley News Source

Yosemite Becomes Bear Country

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YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. (KMPH) -

Bears seem to be everywhere in Yosemite.  People come from near and far to see all the magnificent sights in the national park but they're also discovering Yosemite is bear country. 

Luke O'Neill is from Texas and he spotted one on Tuesday.  "We saw a grizzly bear about fifteen–twenty feet on the side of the road.   He was just standing on a log.   There was a mini–van ahead of us and wee behind and he was just hanging out there for like ten minutes and he kinda walked around.   He noticed us."

A group of hikers from the Bay Area had a close encounter with a bear last year.   Paul Grabowsky from Danville left his backpack at the base of Half Dome.  "The bear with a claw and just went whack whack because it smelled something right there.  And then moved on and I had some trash down here in this zip and he nailed, he did a little zip there to see what it was and found out it was trash."

Park Rangers let campers know when they arrive that there are rules for storing food.   If they fail to follow them their food can be impounded and they face up to a 5–thousand dollar fine. The bears and their babies are hungry and they can smell food from a distance. 

Rebecca Weatrowski from Fullerton plays by the rules when it comes to cooking and storing food.   After four straight summer visits to Yosemite she's aware of the bears.  "Well you just have to be careful.   You have to respect the fact that this is their home.   We've seen lots of bears here.   We've seen bears in the apple orchards over there eating apples.   You just have to keep a respectful distance."

There have been 69 incidents this year involving bears.   The damage figure is just over 4–thousand dollars.  Signs also warn motorists to slow down because nine bears have been hit by cars in 2013. 

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