The California Fish and Game Commission voted 3-2 to approve a statewide ban on bobcat trapping, the State Department of Fish and Wildlife announced Wednesday.
The decision comes after a long debate about animal cruelty. Bobcats are popular for their pelts, with one on average selling for $280 per pelt last season. There were 267 legally licensed trappers operating in the state last season, during which 1,292 bobcats were trapped.
The Department of Fish and Wildlife had recommended a partial ban, allowing licensed trappers to harvest pelts in designated zones that have higher populations of bobcats, generally in the northern and southern parts of the state.
According to a statement from the commission, the ban still requires approval by the state Office of Administrative Law and could go into effect before the 2015-16 trapping season, which opens Nov. 24.
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Parks still open as fires burn
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks remain open to visitors for recreation, despite the neighboring Cabin Fire to the south and Rough Fire to the north.
The Cabin Fire is burning in the Golden Trout Wilderness in the Sequoia National Forest and most areas outside of the wilderness, including the Giant Sequoia National Monument, Boole Tree, Hume Lake and the Trail of 100 Giants are still open. The Rough Fire is burning near the northern border of the Monarch Wilderness.
The U.S. Forest Service has closed the Golden Trout Wilderness west of the Old Hockett Trail (33E01), just before the Kern Canyon Ranger Station. Back-country travelers can continue to the Lewis Camp Trailhead. Other neighboring recreational areas such as Mountain Home State Forest and Balch Park are still open.
For the updates on conditions, call 559-462-0088 Monday through Sunday, 8 a.m.-8 p.m.
Rare summer openings at Bearpaw Camp
Only open during the summer and usually booked solid each year, the Bearpaw High Sierra Camp has a few open dates for later this month and next.
Bearpaw is reached via an 11.5-mile hike on the High Sierra Trail. The camp features six private tent cabins and on-site staff to cook meals. The available dates are: Aug. 11-13, 16, 31; Sept. 3, 9, 17, 20.
SAR Wild Run
Run or hike around Shaver Lake in this fourth annual fundraiser for the Fresno County Search and Rescue mountaineering team on Sunday, Aug. 9. Options include a half-marathon, 10K trail run, 5K “wild run” (trail run with a couple steep hillside scrambles) and a 2-mile family hike. Running events start from 8-8:15 a.m.
Chip timing will be provided for all runners. Participants will receive an event T-shirt, a custom finisher’s medal, a free BBQ lunch with ice cream and a complimentary beer for those 21 and older. Registration starts at $40 per person.
Save the date
The next fee-free entrance day to a national park is Tuesday, Aug. 25, in celebration of the National Park Service’s 98th birthday. Two more fee-free days are on tap for 2015: Sept. 26 for National Public Lands Day and Nov. 11 for Veterans Day. Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park will have two more fee-free days: Sept. 25 (125th anniversary) and Dec. 13 (Nation’s Christmas Tree celebration).