Here's one such encounter. They will most likely run before you know they were there. Even before the arrival of humans in America, grizzly bears did not populate the eastern side of the continent. Recently, while hiking I took a picture of a mountain in the distance, put my phone in my pocket and started walking down the old dirt road again. Playing dead is not appropriate. Food smells draw bears to that area and the promise of leftover garbage could invite a bear to return to that campsite at a later time. Remain calm. Hiking, walking, camping, cycling and fishing in bear country takes special precautions. 7) Bear spray is not normally needed for north eastern black bears but hiking with bear spray is a good idea because it can stun a bear in an encounter giving you time to reach a safe location. In other words, if it looks like a bear, it's probably a bear no matter what color it is; especially if you've been eating odd mushrooms, forest berries or sharing "happy brownies" with hikers you don't know too well. Keep a clean camp site by properly disposing of food scraps and garbage. “There are various methods out there from a rope hang to bear boxes. My parents were attentive and taught me early on how to react safely when I encountered these situations. The ATC serves as the steward of the trail, managing thru-hiking registrations, maintaining the trail and conserving the lands it passes through, hosting backpacking courses and workshops, and more. If you don’t, continue to yell and act big, and be prepared to fight the bear if it attacks (which is extremely rare by the way!) If there is a bear in the area (especially if it has been aggressive or has cubs) be prepared or consider hiking somewhere else. If a bear approaches, move away slowly; do not run. Since it was designated in 2009, the PNT has flown under the radar, compared to other popular long-distance trails, such as the Pacific Crest Trail and the Appalachian Trail… Plus how to be bear aware and prevent attacks on the Appalachian Trail in the first place. The Forest Service's Bear Necessities for safety in the woods include not leaving food outside and what to do if you encounter a bear in the woods. It’s men. Plus how to be bear aware and prevent attacks on the Appalachian Trail in the first place. Aside from this bear which was uncommonly dangerous, there have been many bears needlessly killed in my hometown because of close contact with hikers and locals who were not following proper precautions. 6) Do not try to climb trees to escape a bear. Starting my hike again in the same direction I saw a bear in the edge of the woods and repeated my yell only to have the bear step out into the road and look toward me. Those who haven’t taken the proper precautions put themselves at great risk. Areas of the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina require bear canisters for overnight camping in the Pisgah National Forest due to encounters with bears. 4) If a bear acts aggressively towards you by huffing, popping or snapping its jaw or swatting the ground, the bear wants space, back away slowly from the bear and speak to it in a calm voice. The best bear bag for the Appalachian Trail does not have to be expensive. If you are a girl, the Boy Scouts of America welcomes girls into all scouting programs. Areas of the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina require bear canisters for overnight camping in the Pisgah National Forest due to encounters with bears. While the Appalachian Trail is a relatively safe place to visit, that does not mean that there are not potential dangers while you are hiking or camping. 5) Never drop food to distract a bear. Just how risky is it out there? Great please get in touch. The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department has safety tips about what to do if you meet Yogi on the trail. In September 2014, my hometown made national news for a bear attack that occurred down the street from the house I grew up in. Give the bear an escape route. I had several personal backpacking and camping trips under my belt, and actually used to get paid to lead backpacking trips and teach back-country skills to teens and youth. I originally wanted this post to be my reaction to this local incident but I thought it would be a good use of my time to add tips for others who are unaccustomed to bear safety. The backcountry shelters along the Appalachian Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains can thank license plate sales for boosting the safety for hikers and bears. If a black bear is too close for comfort, or starts approaching you, get loud and act big! If the bear still charges you after yelling and waving your arms, use bear spray if you have it. These encounters usually end poorly for the bear or the hiker. I continued on in the same direction with no more visual bear encounters although about a mile farther along something made quite a noise running away. The Appalachian Trail has bears and anyone who wants to hike it should know what to do to protect their lives and the lives of the local bears. Apshawa Perserve is used mainly by locals for a short walk or some fishing. If you see something, say something — this will help us keep the A.T. as safe as possible for our visitors. Lesson Number One: The Color of Black Bears. Some of the friends were able to find their way out of the park. You will learn how to save lives including your own, You will learn leadership skills that will help you become a responsible adult and may help you get your first job. 2) If you have encountered a bear, remain calm, do not make eye contact and DO NOT RUN from it. Currently, bear canisters are required in some parks along the trail, and are strongly recommended throughout for overnight campers. May 19, 2019 - Are there bear attacks on the Appalachian Trail? How do I know? Check conditions before you go on parks websites or on trailhead signage. Forest Service Reminds Appalachian Trail Hikers of Requirement to Use Bear-Resistant Storage Canisters. https://photos.thetrek.co/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/1256617_10151674626564947_30577_n.mp4, 19 Things 2021 Appalachian Trail Hikers Need to Know, 5 Books You Need to Read to Better Appreciate the Outdoors, Now You Can Own an Authentic Baxter State Park Trail Sign, [Book Review] 2000 Miles Together — The Raw, Unexpurgated Story of the Crawford Family, Accessing the Appalachian Trail: A List of Shuttles and Taxi Services, Gear Suggestions for an Appalachian Trail Winter Thru-Hike, How to Manage Hygiene on the Appalachian Trail, ATC Urges 2021 Hikers to Take Precautions, Consider Alternatives, Can Thru-Hiking Bring Peace? Werning, 47, who has completed several sections of the Appalachian Trail (AT) over the past four years, says that were she to be attacked by a man while hiking in a remote area, she easily could be overpowered. While bear attacks are very uncommon and black bears rarely become aggressive when encountered, it’s best to avoid bears by following these simple steps listed below, and to know what to do if an encounter happens. Find … DO NOT run from a bear. Never leave food or coolers unattended, even in developed picnic areas. Leave the area. If a bear is standing on its hind legs, it is curious of you so try not to have a strong reaction and move away slowly. Hikers Warned About Increased Bear Activity Published Aug 17, 2016. In New York’s Adirondacks, bear-resistant canisters are required in the Eastern High Peaks Zone. Seeing a black bear approaching that had not yet noticed me, I raised my hands over my head and yelled, “hey, get out of here.” The bear ran crashing over the hill. The Appalachian National Scenic Trail, generally known as the Appalachian Trail or simply the A.T., is a marked hiking trail in the Eastern United States extending between Springer Mountain in Georgia and Mount Katahdin in Maine. Police found his body shortly after they began their search. This group could have done better with this safety information and without it they did a number of things wrong during their encounter. You will learn skills that are not taught in school and have fun doing it. 9) Hang a bear bag at an appropriate distance from your campsite and pack out your trash. Do not lock the bear in a room. My hope is that others will take the time to learn what they need to know to avoid trouble. The cost of the bag does not matter unless you are going to go on a backpacking trip and you are buying the best bear bag for the Appalachian Trail that you can afford. A Combat Veteran's Advice for Veterans. Keep yourself and wildlife safe on your next camping trip. To learn more, please visit the About This Site page. Yet, they are large dangerous creatures and your safety should still be a concern while traveling through their territory. Alarm set in to the group as the bear began to approach them. I headed out confidently to solo-hike the Appalachian Trail in 2013. As a child, my neighborhood had a phone chain for bear alerts, bears digging into our garbage cans and a little over a year ago I even found bear prints on the sunroof of my car while there. If you know a bear is in an area do not go in that area. A hiker, Darsh Patel, was killed by a rogue bear while hiking with his friends. When Patel and his friends entered the park they ran into other hikers who warned them that there was a bear acting aggressively in the area, it was following them on the trail and they told the group they should not proceed. Lesson Number Two: How to Spot a Giant Black Bear at Night. The best way to spot a bear at night is to take a picture of the darkness around your campsite. Bear canisters are easy to use and quick and convenient. Want to hire her? Get into a vehicle or a secure building. Back away, while calmly repeating "Hey bear." If attacked in a building or tent, immediately fight back. Just how risky is it out there? Read on to find out realistic or unrealistic your fear of Appalachian Trail bear attacks really is. Tags: Appalachian Trail, Hiking, Hiking Gear, and News. The trail is about 2,200 miles (3,500 km) long, though the exact length changes over time as parts are rerouted or modified. According to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the proposal for the hiking trail was first presented in 1921, but the Trail was not technically completed until 2014 when a final major stretch was formally acquired and received permanent protection. Nice article with some great tips. I have witnessed, unfortunately, a hiker's tent at a hut in Shenandoah National Park torn up by a bear because he kept minor things like toothpaste inside. https://appalachiantrail.org/explore/plan-and-prepare/hiking-basics/safety/bears You've found a black bear! More than 19,000 people have thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail in its entirety from Georgia to Maine, with many more completing the Smokies section along the North Carolina-Tennessee border. Bear encounters can be pleasant or dangerous. If you are really short on money, you can always make your own bear bag. In what was most likely a panic, the group split up running in separate directions. Safety Tips for Bear Encounters. If you are with others, stand close together and continue to do this. Sadly, safety around wildlife is not taught early on to every person who makes their way into the woods. #camping #backpacking #hiking #appalachiantrail Bears in this area are frequently easy to scare. After a bear killed a hiker's dog in the park, authorities with the Shenandoah National Park are warning hikers about increased bear activity. Here is another article on the same topic. Do not leave food or garbage inside fire rings, grills or around your site. In northern Georgia’s Chatahoochee National Forest, a new springtime canister requirement for overnight campers along the Appalachian Trail has already triggered a reduction in … PREVIOUS: Bear bites Appalachian Trail thru-hiker He wrote that on the night he was attacked, three Appalachian Trail maintainers told him the shelter was overcrowded and he … The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Black bears are common sights for thru-hikers as they pass through Shenandoah National Park. Still be a concern while traveling through their territory still charges you after yelling and waving your arms, bear! 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