YOSEMITE – Hey, everybody! You are invited to an apple picking party in Yosemite on Wednesday, Aug. 5, from 9 a.m. til 4 p.m. This is an annual event that was started as part of efforts to help reduce bear-human contact in the park, and to “Help Keep Yosemite’s Bears Wild.”
According to volunteers who help coordinate this event, the historic, ripe apples attract bears to developed areas and alter their natural diets. 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.
Boasting two historic apple orchards, Yosemite Valley has one in the Curry Village parking area and another near the stables. Both produce apples which attract bears to highly concentrated visitor use areas.
For the 15th consecutive year, the park will conduct this Apple Picking Event, in which park visitors and volunteers are asked to help collect apples from the trees in the Curry Village orchard. Park staff will be onsite to help in picking apples and provide public education and awareness.
Incidents involving black bears and humans 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, say Park experts.
These significant reductions are attributed to an intensive public outreach and education campaign stressing proper food storage that the park has undertaken since 1998, a year that had been the biggest for bear incidents and property damage. In addition, they say, park visitors have done an excellent job with proper food storage, severely reducing the availability of human food for bears.