As you may notice, the happy reviews of 2003 give way to frightened reviews by those who recently camped and Dorst. We are seasoned bear campers...I'm 46 years old with two kids age 9 and 11. NEVER have I encountered so many bears at Sequioa as this year. In a five night stay between the campgrounds and hiking we saw 10 bears total! On the first night, one went right down the road between our campsites (we vacationed with another family) and was small and wandered off as soon as we made noise. But the second night a 7 foot black bear, untagged (called "wild" by the park volunteer at Lodgepole whom we gave the description to) broke into our minivan by pulling off the back window that had been left adjar. I had mistakenly overlooked three packs of gum I had left in my kleenex box and he had smelled it and was trying to get to it when my friend camping across the way scared it off by yelling and running towards it. Before that I had activated my car alarm and had blown a bull horn three times to no avail. Only human voices and presence was able to scare it off.
While I admit my mistake, I also have noticed that campers at Dorst are on their own. No rangers or bear techs patrol any more at night due to budget cuts. Only on the weekends do they sometimes come by. NIght after night car alarms go off all over the campgrounds and you sit wondering when your turn is coming. Even if you don't have a few sticks of gum hidden/forgotten in your car they come into the campsite anyways to see what they can find. It's out of control and the park has no plans to deal with it.
One night a family of very small children was visited by a bear and they screamed at it for several minutes before it would leave. This was the night after our break in and this family was just down a small hill from us. I put the kids in the van and went to the pay phone to call 911 feeling unsafe. The payphone was DEAD! So we drove to Lodgepole and called 911. Nothing happened...by 9 am the next morning a sweet 20something volunteer, who helped the elusive bear techs, of which there are only TWO left, came by to see what had happened the night before. She explained the budget cuts and said "we really don't know why Dorst has such a bear problem or why the Dorst bears are so aggresive and unafraid of humans". Her only explaination was that Dorst was only open two months out of the year as it is an overflow/afterthought to Lodgepole. So the bears aren't used to sharing with humans. So, picture yourself camping in the back country with your small children and that's the mixture you get at Dorst...that is also the protection you get from the Park Service....so if you are comfortable with that...go ahead and have a good time!!! Just check your car two and three times over before your head hits that pillow!!!!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Dorst Campground has 204 campsites. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Dorst Campground Hotel Sequoia And Kings Canyon National Park