Posted by: panthertown | September 19, 2018

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The mission of Friends of Panthertown is to work in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service to conserve this outstanding natural resource while improving the quality and experience of recreational opportunities in Panthertown Valley.


 

The U.S. Forest Service is seeking input on a proposal to require bear resistant food containers for all overnight campers on the Appalachian Trail located on the National Forests in North Carolina and in Panthertown on the Nantahala Ranger District.

Written comments should be submitted by September 19, 2018. Comments can be emailed to comments-southern-north-carolina-nantahala-nantahala@fs.fed.us or mailed to Johnny Wills, Nantahala RD Wildlife Biologist, Nantahala Ranger District, 90 Sloan Road, Franklin, NC 28734.  Contact Mr. Wills for more info: 828-524-6411 ext 452

Friends of Panthertown Comments on Proposal to Require
Bear Resistant Food Containers for Overnight Campers in Panthertown 


 

USFSlogoNational Forests in NC Propose Required Bear Canisters for Overnight Camping on Appalachian Trail and in Panthertown

Source: U.S. Forest Service News Release

Release Date: Aug 13, 2018

Contact(s): Johnny Wills, 828-524-6411 ext 452

August 10, 2018, Asheville, NC – Visitors to the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests have experienced an increasing number of encounters with black bears exhibiting bold behavior over food in the past few years.

Most encounters are at places where the public repeatedly camps in the general forest rather than at campgrounds that are equipped with bear-proof trash cans. Incidents include bears taking food and back packs, damaging tents, and staying near inhabited campsites for hours.

“Bears are very reluctant to give up an easy food source and they have not been discouraged by humans banging pots, blowing air horns, and yelling,” said Nantahala District Wildlife Biologist Johnny Wills. “Using bear-resistant food containers is the surest way to deny bears access to human food.”

The Forest Service has increased public awareness efforts by posting material at trail heads, on websites, and on social media in an effort to educate visitors on the importance of eliminating human behaviors that lead bears to see people as a source of food. However, potentially serious encounters by bears have continued to increase. Close interactions with bears must be reduced for the sake of the bears and for the safety of visitors.

The US Forest Service is seeking input on a proposal to require bear resistant food containers for all overnight campers on the Appalachian Trail located on the National Forests in North Carolina and in Panthertown on the Nantahala Ranger District. The Appalachian Trail passes through the Appalachian, Nantahala, Cheoah, and Tusquitee Ranger Districts.

Written comments should be submitted by September 19, 2018. Comments can be emailed to comments-southern-north-carolina-nantahala-nantahala@fs.fed.us or mailed to Johnny Wills, Nantahala RD Wildlife Biologist, Nantahala Ranger District, 90 Sloan Road, Franklin, NC 28734.

Please, for bear’s sake, be mindful of your sanitation and hygiene in the back country. Bears locate food sources by smell as well as sight. You can protect yourself and protect bears by storing trash and food in safe locations during your visit. Keep scented items in bear-proof canisters, inside trailers, and in the trunk of a vehicle. Do not leave food or coolers unattended. Never store scented items in your tent, including toothpaste, deodorant, beverages, or snacks. Pick up all garbage around your site, including inside fire rings, grills, and tables and properly store with your food or dispose in a bear-proof trash receptacle.

If a bear is observed nearby, pack up food and trash immediately and vacate the area. If necessary, attempt to scare the animal away with loud shouts or making noise. If a bear approaches, do not run, but move away slowly and get into a vehicle or building. In the event of a bear attack, do not play dead. Try to fight back and act aggressively. Carrying EPA registered bear spray is another way to combat bear attacks.

Report bear encounters to your local ranger district office. For more information, see our website at www.fs.usda.gov/nfsnc.

— End of News Release —


WSPATVbear

Related news articles:

Bears in Panthertown

Mandatory bear canisters proposed for A.T. and Panthertown campers
(August 22, 2018) Smoky Mountain News

U.S. Forest Service considering making bear-proof containers mandatory for campers
(August 15, 2018) WSPA-TV

Campers could be required to use bear canisters in Pisgah, Nantahala national forests 
(August 13, 2018) WLOS-TV

Bear activity prompts warning in Panthertown
(April 4, 2018) Smoky Mountain News

USFS Panthertown Bear Alert: Overnight Campers Should Use Bear Resistant Canisters and Bear Pepper Spray (March 2018)

USFS: Bear-Proof Canisters Strongly Recommended in Panthertown (August 2017)


Panthertown Bear Alert


Find out how you can help support the work we are doing! Become a Friend.

Friends of PanthertownFriends of Panthertown is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization. All donations and memberships are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowable by law.

Our mission is to work in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service to conserve this outstanding natural resource while improving the quality and experience of recreational opportunities in Panthertown Valley.

Posted by: panthertown | August 9, 2018

National Geographic Adventurer of the Year to visit Plateau

Jennifer Pharr Davis

SAPPHIRE, NC – Friends of Panthertown will host a presentation by Jennifer Pharr Davis, long distance hiker, author, speaker, and 2011 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year on Saturday, August 18. The program will be held at The County Club of Sapphire Valley from 5:30pm – 7:30pm as a ticketed benefit in support of conservation work in Panthertown Valley.

Jennifer Pharr Davis has logged over 14,000 miles on six different continents, including thru-hikes of the Pacific Crest Trail, the Colorado Trail, Vermont’s Long Trail, numerous trails in Europe, and the Appalachian Trail three times. In 2011, Jennifer wanted to test her physical limits. With the help of her husband Brew and a dedicated group of friends, she set the fastest known time (male or female) on the “A.T.” by hiking 47 miles a day for 46 days straight.

“We are excited to have Jennifer share her adventures with us,” said Jason Kimenker, Executive Director of Friends of Panthertown, “and we know her stories will inspire, entertain, and delight the audience.”

Jennifer will be sharing slides and stories, answering questions, and reading excerpts from her new book The Pursuit of Endurance, available for sale at the event. Publisher’s Weekly says, “this inspiring work (is) at times reminiscent of the writings of such travel memoirists as Cheryl Strayed and Bill Bryson (and) could become a regular companion for distance hikers or, indeed, for anyone embarking on a personal challenge.” 

Jennifer will also be signing books after the program. For her adventures, she has been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, NPR’s Talk of the Nation, ESPN, and the CBS Early Show. She is founder and owner of Blue Ridge Hiking Company, an Asheville, North Carolina-based guiding service whose mission is “to make the wilderness accessible and enjoyable through the written and spoken word, instruction and guiding.”

Friends of Panthertown is a 501(c)(3) non-profit volunteer organization that works in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service to conserve this outstanding natural resource while improving the quality and experience of recreational opportunities in Panthertown Valley, a 6,295-acre backcountry recreation area with 30 miles of public trails within Nantahala National Forest.

General admission tickets for An Evening with Jennifer Pharr Davis cost $10 per person. Tickets may be purchased online with a credit card at panthertown.org/tickets to be held at will call, and with cash or check at the Cashiers Area Chamber of Commerce & Visitor’s Center (828) 743-5191.

Doors open at 5pm. Arrive early for best seating.
Cash bar and light snacks will be available.
A limited number of tickets will also be available to purchase at the door.

A very special VIP ticket package is also available including premium front row reserved seating, a signed copy of her new book, The Pursuit of Endurance, and an invitation to hike in Panthertown Valley with Jennifer. 

Contact Friends of Panthertown at friends@panthertown.org for more information.Buy Ticketscropped-ptownlogojpg

Panthertown Valley EXPO & PicnicPanthertown Valley EXPO & Picnic

Friends of Panthertown to Celebrate National Trails Day

On National Trails Day, Saturday, June 2, local non-profit Friends of Panthertown will host a Panthertown Valley EXPO to celebrate National Trails Day at Sapphire Valley Community Center from 2pm to 4pm and an informal National Trails Day Picnic in Panthertown kick-off gathering at the Salt Rock Gap overlook in Panthertown Valley from 11am to 1pm. Both events are free and open to the public. Everyone is welcome.

For the Picnic in Panthertown, bring your own chairs or a blanket, gather your friends, and pack a picnic lunch to enjoy at the Salt Rock Gap overlook. There will be an opportunity to go hiking and explore Panthertown both before and after the picnic. Maps will be available.

After the picnic, head over to the Sapphire Valley Community Center anytime between 2pm and 4pm for the EXPO. Experts will be on hand to provide information and answer your questions about exploring Panthertown, including hiking, mountain biking, riding horses, fishing, birding, and rock climbing. There will be door prizes and giveaways, including maps and t-shirts, live music by Geoff McBride plus an opportunity to sign up for summertime guided hikes into Panthertown.

Thanks to our sponsors and exhibitors at the EXPO: Bald Rock, Highland HikerOskar Blues Brewery North CarolinaD.D. Bullwinkel’s OutdoorsBrookings’ AnglersNantahala Area SORBA, Bear Tracks Travel Center, Panthertown Map AssociationJackson County, North Carolina, Recreation and Parks and Jackson County Outdoor Recreation.

Friends of Panthertown Valley is the 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that protects and maintains more than 30 miles of public trails in Panthertown Valley, a 6,300 acre backcountry recreational area in the Nantahala National Forest, in partnership with U.S. Forest Service – National Forests in North Carolina. Panthertown offers some of the most scenic public trails in the area.

Sapphire Valley Community Center is located at 127 Cherokee Trail in Sapphire, NC.

Salt Rock Gap in Panthertown is located at the end of Breedlove Road off Cedar Creek Road in Cashiers. Parking is limited along the bumpy 1/4 mile USFS gravel road leading to the trailhead. Signs will be posted at the trailhead directing hikers to the nearby picnic site located about a 5-10 minute walk from the parking area. In case of rain, the picnic will instead be located at Sapphire Valley Community Center where the Expo will also be held.

Contact friends@panthertown.org or visit www.panthertown.org for more info on these and other events, including An evening with Jennifer Pharr Davis on August 18 by Jennifer Pharr Davis, hiker, author, speaker, and National Geographic Adventurer of the Year who has covered over 12,000 miles of long distance trails on six different continents and holds the overall record for fastest known time on the Appalachian Trail.

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