Archived Outdoors

Bears active in Panthertown

Recent reports of increased bear encounters in Panthertown Valley have prompted a call for caution among visitors.

No injuries have been reported. Encounters include bears stealing backpacks and rifling through supplies and gear. Bears will often stay around the area of the incident for many hours. This time of year black bears are opportunistically looking for food that campers and trail users bring with them.

“Bears become used to
 people due to the close proximity of residential neighborhoods and the
 regular use of the same camping spots,” said District Ranger Mike Wilkins. “Once there is more natural food 
available across the forest the bears should be less aggressive.”

For more bear safety tips, visit 

Leave a comment

Smokey Mountain News Logo
Go to top
Payment Information


At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.