Re “Scary bear stories part of Yosemite’s mystique” (Opinions, Sept 6): I am aware that Dick Hagerty is considered the all-knowing information source in all things Yosemite. In light of his expertise, I was disappointed he chose to ignore the park’s camping rules and regulations, based on ecological preservation of the wilderness.
To quote: “Climbing Half Dome several years ago we decided to overnight along the trail above Little Yosemite Valley.” That section of the Muir Trail has been closed to camping for years due to its fragile environment. There is no camping allowed along either trail up Vernal and Nevada falls to three miles east of Little Yosemite Valley or anywhere along the Muir Trail till past the Half Dome trail junction, except in the Little Yosemite Valley campground.
All overnight backpackers must have wilderness permits to camp anywhere in Yosemite’s wilderness. Backpackers must sign the permit after discussing rules with the issuing park employee. I was a volunteer in the Wilderness Division, issuing wilderness permits for eight years after spending a lifetime backpacking the Yosemite wilderness. Dick either ignored the camping regulations or chose to camp overnight on the trail without a required wilderness permit. Whichever, it was illegal camping.
Vahl Clemensen, Modesto
Hagerty responds: This trip took place roughly eight years ago and my wilderness permit had no restrictions. Our campsite was on the spur trail to Clouds Rest, a mile or so above Little Yosemite Valley. It was a nice, well-developed single campsite with fire ring, perimeter logs, a level cleared area and, oh yes, a bear. I have camped there twice. I do not violate park rules, regulations or trail restrictions.