Kings Canyon national parks host some of the larges sequoias known to man. Their ages are estimated to be between one-thousand eight-hundred to two-thousand seven-hundred years. The tallest tree, named General Sherman, measures over two-hundred seventy-five feet in height. With a ground circumference of over one-hundred and two feet, this tree is a wonder to behold indeed. Yet visitors to Kings Canyon, CA are also in for further treats, the local population of black bears.
Granted, at times the bears have received a bad reputation when it came to interaction with their human guests. It is imperative for visitors to remember that Kings Canyon national parks are not only a protected area for the giant sequoias but also for the large number of black bears that live there. The bears' natural instinct is of course to forage for food, dig up roots and berries, and look for food wherever they can find it. Due to their inquisitive nature, the bears have long since found out that people are very likely to bring food with them, and thus have taken to foraging alongside people's campsites, and even inside parked cars!
It is up to Kings Canyon, CA visitors to ensure that they do not compound the problem of bear misbehavior but instead observe a few tried and true rules when visiting the bears:
When camping, do so only in a designated camping spot. These man-made areas offer special food lockers that are bear safe and allow campers to leave their food protected from hungry, nosy intruders. Additionally, they decrease the chance of young bears learning to view campsites and human areas as their primary foraging grounds. On a side note, be sure to also deposit things that carry a scent, such as your toiletries, in such bear lockers. Bears follow their noses and anything that smells out of the ordinary will be investigated by an inquisitive bear to see if it falls in the category of edible things.
If you chose to park in one of the spots that does not offer ready access to a bear safe food locker, the Kings Canyon, CA park authority requires foods to be stored out of sight. This means in the trunk of the car, a closed chest, or on the floor of the car with a heavy blanket thrown over the food. Windows and doors of the vehicle must be closed to further discourage any bear from even thinking of investigating the vehicle.
Should you encounter a bear at your campsite, it is best to scare off the animal. This may be accomplished with loud noise, whistles, banging together of pots and pans and shouts. If you are too late, and the bear has already gotten a hold of your lunch or dinner, do not attempt to take any food away from the animals. This may result in serious injury to you and fellow campers. Instead, be sure to report the incident to one of the many Kings Canyon, CA rangers.
Similarly, if you visit Kings Canyon, CA to get a good look at the black bear, you will be rewarded by some stunning viewing opportunities. Be smart and don't try to crowd the animals by getting too close. Instead, come equipped with some telephoto lenses and other appropriate equipment to zoom in on the animals from a safe distance. If the bear has cubs, be certain to keep your distance from cubs and mama bear! If you have children with you, be certain to keep the group together and do not attempt to outrun the bear. Instead, slowly back away as a group.