The U.S. Forest Service said an aggressive bear was reported at the No Business Knob Shelter. This report led to camping being closed on the AT from Chestoa to Spivey Gap at 19W until further notice.
U.S. Forest Service officials are urging visitors to be cautious within the area and be looking for black bears. Visitors are encouraged to be BearWise. Safety tips would 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
According to the Forest Service, a Forest Order is being drafted and will be issued for visitor safety, and bear conservation. The order will help to ensure recreational areas can remain open to visitors.
Any bear sightings within the area should be reported to the campground host or to the Unaka Ranger District office at 423-638-4109. Visitors are also asked not to remove any bear activity signage.
On Friday, the Forest Service closed camping on another section of the AT for an aggressive bear report. All camping from the TN-VA Border to the Low Gap-Hwy 421 Intersection is closed.
On October 26, Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials closed two trails due to a large concentration of black bears.
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