State News

Visitors to North Carolina forest warned about black bears

Posted April 22

Dakota, one of Grandfather Mountain's resident black bears, poses for a photo during 2016's Nature Photography Weekend. Photographers of all skill levels are invited to the weekend-long event, returning June 2-4, to hear presentations from top nature photographers in the evenings and photograph spectacular scenery and native animals during the day. Photo by Candace Rankin, courtesy of the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

— The U.S. Forest Service is warning visitors to a western North Carolina recreation area to be on the lookout for black bears.

Specifically, the Nantahala National Forest is warning visitors going to Panthertown. Most bear encounters have occurred at the Panthertown Shelter.

In a Facebook post, the U.S. Forest Service said people reported that the bears often stayed for an hour of two. The Forest Service said the bears are looking for easy food to eat brought onto the trails and into campsites by people.

While officials say no injuries have been reported, bears have stolen food multiple times with people present and reportedly shredded a tent even though no food was inside. In one case, a bear was undeterred by bear spray.

District Ranger Mike Wilkins said one or more bears have become used to people due to the proximity of residential neighborhoods and the repeated use of the same camping spots. Wilkins said once there is more natural food available across the forest, the bears should be less aggressive.


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  • NC Tom Apr 23, 8:07 a.m.
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    Ben and Victor both read my mind

  • Ben Hill Apr 22, 11:53 p.m.
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    View quoted thread

    Does a bear sh*t in the woods?

    In our current climate of no accountability, even though we warn people, they still will be shocked and blame others when Yogi steals their picnic basket.

  • Sammy Kinton Apr 22, 8:19 p.m.
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    We're not used to bears coyotes, panthers and alligators in these parts.

  • Victor Cruz-Saez Apr 22, 8:05 p.m.
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    Do we really need to warn folks that there are bears in the woods???

    Do we really need to explain to folks that wild life is called wild for a reason???