For the interactive 360° VR experience, go to https://www.virtualyosemite.org/virtual-tour/#node303
Every year, Yosemite puts up “Speeding Kills Bears” signs to mark where bears have been hit or killed by vehicles in the park. Most spots change year-to-year as new incidents occur, but others mark repeated accident locations.
In 2019, the park designated several new Wildlife Protection Zones and clocked the speed of visitors in anticipation for that year’s Labor Day crowds. Over 400 bears had been hit by vehicles in Yosemite since 1995. In some of these accidents, vehicles were going at least 25 mph over the posted speed limit.
Bears are not the only animals at risk. Birds, deer, foxes, mountain lions, butterflies, amphibians such as endangered red-legged frogs and salamanders, and other wildlife are also struck in alarming numbers.
The non-profit Yosemite Conservancy has provided funding for numerous bear research and protection projects in the park over the years. They join the park in encouraging everyone to slow down while driving here. Enjoy the peaceful nature of this place, and don’t be in a rush to get anywhere. Take your time.
Consider also the financial cost, damage, and personal inconveniences you’ll incur if you strike one of these large animals with your car. Especially at higher speeds, damage can be severe and your vehicle may no longer be drivable. Antlers or sharp hooves coming through your windshield can be deadly to you and your passengers. Slow down. Obey the speed limits.
Both you and the nature that you come to see in Yosemite will all be better for it.
©2020 Photography by Scott Highton
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