KEEPING BEARS WILD: If you've visited a state or national park even once, you've likely left knowing a famous saying by heart, if you hadn't already memorized the words long before your adventure. And it is this: "Leave only footprints, take only pictures." It's the ol' chestnut about leaving chestnuts and flowers and leaves and pinecones and rocks and animals right where they happen to be in a park, whether you spy them from a hiking trail or boat or mountaintop. Sweet stories have emerged from people who heed this call -- remember the little girl who mailed the pair of sticks back to Yosemite National Park? -- and park supporters, on the whole, are a respectful lot, keeping their hands in their pockets or mittens or on their maps and away from pocketing the nature. But on Wednesday, Aug. 5, Yosemite's Research Management and Science division and employees from Wildlife Management will encourage a group of park visitors to interact with nature by plucking fruit, a lot of fruit, all in the name of a fine cause. It's Apple Picking Day, and while the quaint name might summon to mind the baking of pies and that one old-timey game where you bite an apple on a string, the day's purpose is big of heart and a bit more serious. Apple Picking Day is all about keeping the bears of Yosemite wild.
BEARS HEART APPLES... and when they know the apples are there, on the trees, looking delicious, they wander into the park's more bustling, developed nooks, "potentially altering their natural diets and putting them at risk." If you've pumped your brakes at the iconic yellow "speeding kills bears" signs around the park, you know that steering Yosemite's beautiful ursine residents away from human recreation and pursuits is a positive thing.
THERE ARE A FEW TO-KNOWS... given the physicality of the getting the apples out of the trees, and what to wear and such, so please read all to make sure this is a task you're up for before heading into the park.
THINK OF APPLE PICKING DAY... as another important chapter in the "food storage" rules when vacationing in a place that's a home to bears. If we don't have goodies to tempt the bears, they stick to their usual snacks, which is a plus all around. Want to know more about these snout-sweet, apple-lovin', Yosemite favorites? Bet you can bearly wait to read all about 'em.