A black bear explores a garbage can in Asheville. Photo courtesy of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.

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Press release from the U.S. Forest Service, shared Oct. 10:

PISGAH FOREST – The U.S. Forest Service is encouraging campers and visitors to the national forests in North Carolina to practice black bear safety while visiting the forest.

The warning comes on the heels of six bear encounters on the Pisgah Ranger District, Pisgah National Forest within the past two weeks. The incidents occurred in the Graveyard Fields, Black Balsam, and Shining Rock Wilderness areas just off the Blue Ridge Parkway. In these cases the bears took food from camp sites. While no injuries were reported, visitor’s tents and packs were damaged.

While black bear attacks on people are rare, such attacks have sometimes resulted in human fatalities.

Visitors are strongly encouraged to prevent bear interactions by practicing the following safety tips:

  • Do not store food in tents.
  • Properly store food by hanging it in a tree or in hard-sided secure container.
  • Clean up food or garbage around fire rings, grills or other areas of your campsite.
  • Do not leave food unattended.

For more tips, visit www.fs.usda.gov/nfsnc, click on “Bear Safety Tips and PSAs.”

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Angie Newsome is the executive director and editor of Carolina Public Press. Contact her at (828) 774-5290 or e-mail her at anewsome@carolinapublicpress.org.

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  1. I read this today after seeing three bears (what I assume was a mom and two cubs) in Haw Creek yesterday (10/11/12) just below the Haw Creek scenic overlook of the Blue Ridge Parkway. I saw another grown bear in Haw Creek just a few weeks ago. Plenty of bears this year!