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No change in Yosemite or SEKI policy, for now, but the conversation continues

By June 1, 2016Uncategorized

We received a letter from Yosemite and SEKI in early May. They were concerned that they could stick a pencil point through the Ursack we sent them for evaluation in October 2014. They invited us to send two more Ursacks to see if that was an aberration. We declined on the basis that even though our newer bags have twice the tear strength of the IGBC approved Ursack they had, the fabric could still be pierced by a pencil point. (Note that a bear’s teeth and claws are much thicker than a pencil–about 1/16″–but that even those more blunt instruments could still create weave separations). Our letter in response began like this:

Your letter of May 6, 2016 raises an interesting question. Will a bear that tastes a tiny amount of food or liquid from an otherwise secure bear resistant container become conditioned to anthropegenic food sources?

Apparently, Yosemite and SEKI believe the answer is yes. The Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee disagrees. Not surprisingly, Ursack favors the IGBC approach. They have been testing bear resistant containers since 1989 and established their standards through “consultation with North American human-bear conflict experts and bear biologists.” (all quotes from IGBC.org).  I have not seen any scientific evidence that the Yosemite/SEKI theory is anything more than just a theory.

And quoting the IGBC protocol:

“IGBC approval does not guarantee that small amounts of the contents of the containers won’t be able to leak or spill out.” “For garbage containment products, gaps, tears or holes of 1½ inches or less are allowable. For food storage products, gaps, tears or holes of ¼ inch or less are allowable.”

We offered to meet anytime anyplace with the appropriate representatives of Yosemite and SEKI to discuss these issues, and are hoping to hear back.