‘Aggressive bear activity’ closes trails, campsites in Smokies

'Aggressive bear activity' closes trails, campsites in Smokies (Image 1)

Some hiking trails and campsites in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park remain closed this week following what park officials are calling “aggressive bear activity.”

In one incident last week, a hiker along Bull Head Trail, near the Gatlinburg entrance to the park, was followed by a bear, even after the hiker attempted to elude the animal.

Officials say this behavior is uncommon since black bears, which are the only of species of bear in the park, tend to be intimidated by humans.

Although rare, bears have attacked humans in the Smokies. In 2000, schoolteacher Glenda Bradley was fatally wounded.

No attacks have been reported this year.

According to park officials, the animals are most active during early morning and late evening hours in the spring and summer.

It is estimated that around 1,500 bears live in the park.

The following areas remain closed due to bear activity: Spence Field Shelter, Curry Mountain Trail, Meigs Creek Trail, Meigs Mountain Trail, Bull Head Trail and backcountry campsites 13,18,19, 20, 113.

A full list of closures can be found on the park’s Web site.

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