BEAR ALERT from U.S. Forest Service Nantahala District Ranger:
March 20, 2018 – Due to an increase in close and serious bear encounters in Panthertown, where campers have had to leave campsites and hikers have retreated from a local trail, the U. S. Forest Service is strongly recommending that back country campers use bear resistant containers for all food and scented items.
Bears quickly learn that a good food source is available at campsites where people have not properly stored their food and trash. We recommend no overnight camping without bear proof containers and some form of personal protection in the back country”, said District Ranger Mike Wilkins. “This will help reduce bear encounters until berries and other natural foods become available. Also, it is advisable to avoid abandoning food containers, backpacks, and other items to a bear one may encounter to avoid teaching the bear to associate people with food.
Use bear resistant canisters for back country camping. Carry a readily available can of bear pepper spray (rated as bear spray by the U.S. EPA) and follow manufacturer recommendations.
For more information about bears in Panthertown Valley, please visit panthertown.org/bears
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