The U.S. Forest Service Nantahala Ranger District has notified Friends of Panthertown that campers have recently reported more black bear encounters in Panthertown Valley . The bears are looking for easy meals and have been known to cause damage to backpacks and tents in their search for food. No injuries have been reported.
The U.S. Forest Service recommends using bear proof or water proof bags to keep the smell down and hanging the bags at least 150 feet from the camping area or the cooking area. It is also very important to keep your camp clean and not have any food inside tents or left in the campsite.
Help prevent bear encounters by practicing the following safety tips:
* Do not store food in tents.
* Properly store food by hanging it in a tree or in another secure container.
* Clean up food or garbage around fire rings, grills or other areas of your campsite.
* Do not leave food unattended.
They also suggest campers take special precautions due to the recent bear activity by securely placing food and garbage in scent proof metal bear cans or boxes.
Related: Bear Alert in Panthertown Valley (published October 29, 2012)
Related: Practice Bear Safety (published May 23, 2012)
This labor day weekend September 6, 2015 there were numerous black bear sightings and campsite raids. One came into our camp as we were starting to prepare dinner and wound up taking our bag of food supplies for the trip. Later that night around 2am the bear returned and was turned away when I spotted it in the brush with my flash light. Some time later it got our bear bag down and rummaged through our trash and what little food we had. We heard subsequent shouts from other campers in the area as the bears visited at least 5 other campsites that night.