Aggressive bear closes camping at spot along Appalachian Trail | WJHL


JOHNSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) — The Abingdon Gap Shelter along the Appalachian Trail has been closed to camping after reports of an aggressive bear.

A release from the U.S. Forest Service states that camping from the Tennessee-Virginia border to the Low Gap-Hwy 421 Intersection is closed until further notice due to bear activity.

The forest service provided the following map to detail which portion of the trail cannot be camped along:

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Forest Service

Anyone using the Appalachian Trail in that region is warned to be cautious and stay on the lookout for black bears. Some of the tips the U.S. Forest Service reminded hikers of include:

  • Avoiding walking, hiking, jogging, or cycling alone
  • Keep dogs on a leash
  • Make noise so that bears know you are in the area
  • Carry bear spray and know how to properly use it
  • If you encounter a bear, don’t run. Back away slowly while making noise and do not turn your back on the bear
  • In the unlikely case you are attacked or come into contact with a black bear, fight back

Officials ask that anyone who spots a bear in the area report it to the campground host or to the Watauga Ranger District Office at 423-735-1500.


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