Archived Outdoors

Tent ban extended at Mount Pisgah

Warren Bielenberg photo Warren Bielenberg photo

A temporary ban on tents and soft-sided campers at Mount Pisgah Campground on the Blue Ridge Parkway has been extended through Thursday, July 1.

Originally enacted June 18 to extend through June 24, the ban is a response to increasing bear activity in the area. A young bear has established a pattern of entering occupied campsites, coming too close to campers and taking food from sites. Blue Ridge Parkway rangers and wildlife biologists are attempting to dissociate the bear from human food rewards in order to allow all forms of camping to resume.

The ban extension aims to maintain camper safety while wildlife biologists and park staff continue working to redirect bears to natural food sources away from the campground. People with reservations at Mount Pisgah during this period can go to other Blue Ridge Parkway campgrounds before July 1 and have those reservations honored there, or wait until after July 1 to camp at Mount Pisgah in a tent or soft-sided camper. Affected campers will be contacted by park staff and the online reservation system at www.recreation.gov.

Camping in cars will be permitted, and some tent sites may accommodate hard-sided campers. Walk-up camping will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to ensure equipment meets current requirements.

When bears become habituated to human food and presence, they lose their fear of people and may begin approaching them in search of food, with behavior becoming more unpredictable and dangerous. Studies have shown that habituated bears do not live as long as bears that eat natural foods and remain afraid of people.

Find more bear safety tips at www.bearwise.org.

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