YOSEMITE – Yosemite National Park will hold the 16th annual Apple Picking Event on Wednesday, July 30, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Curry Village in Yosemite Valley.
This is an annual event that was started in an effort to help reduce bear-human contact in the park by removing non-native food sources, and to “Help Keep Yosemite’s Bears Wild.”
“The historic, ripe apples attract bears to developed areas and alter their natural diets,” states the volunteers.gov website.
“By removing the apples, bears will return to their natural food sources found throughout the park and not become exposed to humans and their food.”
There are two historic apple orchards in Yosemite Valley – in the Curry Village parking area and near the stables – that produce apples which attract bears to highly concentrated visitor use areas. Park visitors and volunteers are asked to help collect apples from the trees in the Curry Village orchard. Park staff will be onsite to provide help in picking apples and provide public education and awareness.
As a result of Yosemite’s Bear Management Program, black bear – human incidents in Yosemite National Park have been reduced approximately 90 percent since 1998 (an incident is defined as an interaction between a bear and a person or property). Additionally, property damage has been reduced by approximately 87 percent.
These significant reductions are attributed to an intensive public outreach and education campaign stressing proper food storage that the park has undertaken since 1998, which had been the biggest year to date for bear incidents/property damage. Further, park visitors have done an excellent job with proper food storage, thus severely reducing the availability of human food for bears.
These types of programs and management actions have helped to dramatically reduce the impacts of negative human and wildlife interactions, say park officials. The success of these programs has also helped to reduce property damage by bears, with Yosemite Valley recording zero vehicle break-ins by bears in 2013.