Backpackers cautioned to keep food away from bears

As spring and backpacking season returns to the mountains, so does bear danger in the woods. A recent bear encounter, in which a bear got a hold of food that was hung from a tree, has prompted the U.S. Forest Service to encourage visitors to the Shining Rock Wilderness Area, and other parts of the Pisgah Ranger District in the Pisgah National Forest, to store their food securely and be on the lookout for black bears.

No injuries or property damage were reported in the incident, but it has the agency on alert. Officials had to close that area of the forest to overnight camping last fall when similar bear encounters were on the rise. To prevent bear run-ins, forest rangers are urging visitors to store food by properly hanging it between two trees or stashing it in a bear proof canister container at least 150 feet away. Forest-users should also clean up food and garbage around fire rings, grills and in the campsite.

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