bear safety appalachian trail

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My hope is that others will take the time to learn what they need to know to avoid trouble. 11) Always be safe and keep your eyes open to whats around you! Find another route. Terri Werning’s biggest fear while hiking isn’t elevation, bears, or losing the trail. Just how risky is it out there? If you are a kid or have a parent who loves kids like you, join a pack, troop or venturing crew. 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. You've found a black bear! Do not lock the bear in a room. The Appalachian Trail’s history, just like its geographical coverage, is long and full of remarkable changes. 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. 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. Yet, they are large dangerous creatures and your safety should still be a concern while traveling through their territory. Although I was a bit apprehensive I finished my loop hike with no more wildlife encounters. 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. Why it’s so important to hang a bear bag. Bear Safety Tips for Hikers. Patel and his friends continued on despite the warning. Great please get in touch. 5 Ways to Spot Dangerous People on the AT, Doctor Grumpy's Ten Tips for AT Thru-Hikers, If These People Can Hike the AT, So Can You, The A.T. Guide by David "AWOL" Miller (2015 Edition), Google Maps is Mapping Hiking Trails with a 50 Pound Backpack, Doctor Grumpy's 7 Ways the AT Will Change in 10 Years, Great Smoky Mountains is the Most Popular National Park, Filming Locations for A Walk in the Woods with Robert Redford, Click Here for More Black Bear Safety Tips, Click Here for Fun Tips on Camping Near Black Bears, The Bear Necessities for Safe Hiking and Camping, Dahlonega, GA's Bear on the Square Festival, Bear Canisters Required on Appalachian Trail in Pisgah National Forest, Hikers Warned About Increased Bear Activity, Bear Truth About Hiking & Camping in Georgia. 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. My hometown warns of this with signs at many of the trail heads and articles online about safety. The best way to spot a bear at night is to take a picture of the darkness around your campsite. If attacked in a building or tent, immediately fight back. Want to hire her? Alarm set in to the group as the bear began to approach them. The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department has safety tips about what to do if you meet Yogi on the trail. A hiker, Darsh Patel, was killed by a rogue bear while hiking with his friends. 9) Hang a bear bag at an appropriate distance from your campsite and pack out your trash. Lesson Number Two: How to Spot a Giant Black Bear at Night. 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. Nice article with some great tips. Bears are much faster than you and running could trigger a bears instinct to chase. Back away, while calmly repeating "Hey bear." This will only encourage the bear to approach more humans in the future. 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. Plus how to be bear aware and prevent attacks on the Appalachian Trail in the first place. 5) Never drop food to distract a bear. Talking loudly with a friend or belting a song works well. DO NOT climb trees to escape a bear. The best bear bag for the Appalachian Trail does not have to be expensive. Lesson Number One: The Color of Black Bears. Now that you’re a bear safety genius, I’ll lighten the mood to let you enjoy this video of a baby bear at my parents house. Instead, move calmly and slowly away from the bear leaving it an escape route. Dec 23, 2017 - Are there bear attacks on the Appalachian Trail? Keep yourself and wildlife safe on your next camping trip. Leave the area. Check conditions before you go on parks websites or on trailhead signage. #camping #backpacking #hiking #appalachiantrail Sadly, safety around wildlife is not taught early on to every person who makes their way into the woods. Some of the friends were able to find their way out of the park. 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. Stay aware of your surroundings while hiking, so you don’t accidentally ‘approach’ a bear or bear cub. If bear-proof containers are not available, store food and garbage inside, high in a tree that is away from camp, or in a car trunk. They promptly called 911 when they noticed that Patel was still missing. 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. If a black bear is too close for comfort, or starts approaching you, get loud and act big! 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. “There are various methods out there from a rope hang to bear boxes. A Combat Veteran's Advice for Veterans. If you are with others, stand close together and continue to do this. Even in the late 19 th century, the furthest east the grizzly bears were found were the present-day states of … 6) Do not try to climb trees to escape a bear. 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 … If you know a bear is in an area do not go in that area. 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 you see something, say something — this will help us keep the A.T. as safe as possible for our visitors. Black bears can become a threat to humans, property and themselves. If you are really short on money, you can always make your own bear bag. It’s men. Just how risky is it out there? In what was most likely a panic, the group split up running in separate directions. May 19, 2019 - Are there bear attacks on the Appalachian Trail? 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. In September 2014, my hometown made national news for a bear attack that occurred down the street from the house I grew up in. 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. Apshawa Perserve is used mainly by locals for a short walk or some fishing. If you are a girl, the Boy Scouts of America welcomes girls into all scouting programs. If you see this reflection, congratulations! 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. I headed out confidently to solo-hike the Appalachian Trail in 2013. Yelling again, the second (perhaps the same) bear ran over the hill. 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. “We will have analyzed systems for keeping hiker food away from wildlife,” Metheny said. Hikers Warned About Increased Bear Activity Published Aug 17, 2016. Tags: Appalachian Trail, Hiking, Hiking Gear, and News. 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. Happy safe hiking! If you are attacked by a black bear, try to fight back using any object available. They did later encounter the bear along the trail and paused with their phones to take photos from a distance. Currently, bear canisters are required in some parks along the trail, and are strongly recommended throughout for overnight campers. If you know a bear is in an area do not go in that area. 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. Watch for bear signs along the trail including scat, tracks and scratches on trees. The noise could have easily been a deer. 8) Lastly, and I hope this never happens to anyone but if a bear is attacking, the best thing you can do is fight back. Why You Should Always Hang A Bear Bag On The Appalachian Trail Always hang your food while hiking and backpacking on the Appalachian Trail - here's why and how. 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. 2) If you have encountered a bear, remain calm, do not make eye contact and DO NOT RUN from it. 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. 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. They will most likely run before you know they were there. 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. 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. Bears in this area are frequently easy to scare. Give the bear an escape route. Thanks for your support! Read on to find out realistic or unrealistic your fear of Appalachian Trail bear attacks really is. Visit a scout store and ask to look at the merit badge pamphlets. In the meantime, she will be hiking, recovering from hiking, doing yoga and possibly getting her yoga instructors certification. DO NOT run from a bear. In New York’s Adirondacks, bear-resistant canisters are required in the Eastern High Peaks Zone. Sharon MamaGoose Smith encountered a snorting bear while camping near the Pacific Coast Trail. Seriously, what was this bear doing on my car? Take Special Precautions. After a bear killed a hiker's dog in the park, authorities with the Shenandoah National Park are warning hikers about increased bear activity. 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. I think it’s important that everyone know what to do, especially since I’ve experienced first hand the vast number of bears that live in the NY/NJ Appalachian Trail area. These encounters usually end poorly for the bear or the hiker. It was clear, after reading their story they were not properly prepared for what dangers were in the quiet park they hiked in. If the bear still charges you after yelling and waving your arms, use bear spray if you have it. If a bear approaches, move away slowly; do not run. Keep a clean camp site by properly disposing of food scraps and garbage. gearhose.com/bear-safety-camping-backpacking/. The Appalachian Trail runs for more than 71 miles through Great Smoky Mountains National Park, entering the park from the south at Fontana Dam and exiting in the northeast at Davenport Gap. Playing dead is not appropriate. Read on to find out realistic or unrealistic your fear of Appalachian Trail bear attacks really is. 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. I was nearly 7 miles from my vehicle and alone. Black bears are common sights for thru-hikers as they pass through Shenandoah National Park. I am an Eagle Scout, scouter longer than I can remember, and now am a Unit Commissioner. You do not need to be a member of a scouting program to purchase these materials. Published Aug 17, 2016. This group could have done better with this safety information and without it they did a number of things wrong during their encounter. Plus how to be bear aware and prevent attacks on the Appalachian Trail in the first place. Remain calm. 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. My parents were attentive and taught me early on how to react safely when I encountered these situations. Bear encounters can be pleasant or dangerous. Never leave food or coolers unattended, even in developed picnic areas. https://appalachiantrail.org/explore/plan-and-prepare/hiking-basics/safety/bears What would you do if you met a bear in the woods? Here is another article on the same topic. For those unable to outrun their friends and family during a bear attack, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) office based in the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests, offers these suggestions to avoid encounters with black bears. The trail is about 2,200 miles (3,500 km) long, though the exact length changes over time as parts are rerouted or modified. Hiking, walking, camping, cycling and fishing in bear country takes special precautions. Police found his body shortly after they began their search. 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… 10) While hiking in bear country, make loud noises to let any hidden bears know of your presence. Never keep food or scented items (such as shampoo) in a tent. The adrenaline was heightened for a little while. Bear canisters are easy to use and quick and convenient. Forest Service Reminds Appalachian Trail Hikers of Requirement to Use Bear-Resistant Storage Canisters. Bear Facts of the Trail Black Bear photo by wildsafebc.com I photographed this bear in a tree in Great Smoky Mountains National Park Bears can be a hot topic in the hiker forums. 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? 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. 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 … 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. Those who haven’t taken the proper precautions put themselves at great risk. Hawk Metheny, Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s New England Regional Director, took time to advocate for the use of bear canisters. What might happen if you encounter a wild North American black bear on the AT or anywhere else. You will learn skills that are not taught in school and have fun doing it. There are no grizzly bears on the Appalachian Trail. 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. After completing the Appalachian Trail, Sara "Stretch" is trying to figure out what to do with her life. Do not leave food or garbage inside fire rings, grills or around your site. 1) Never approach a bear. Areas of the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina require bear canisters for overnight camping in the Pisgah National Forest due to encounters with bears. Safety Tips for Bear Encounters. Never approach a bear. 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!) Even before the arrival of humans in America, grizzly bears did not populate the eastern side of the continent. Here's one such encounter. 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. This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. Get into a vehicle or a secure building. Areas of the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina require bear canisters for overnight camping in the Pisgah National Forest due to encounters with bears. Find … If there is a bear in the area (especially if it has been aggressive or has cubs) be prepared or consider hiking somewhere else. How do I know? Instead, leave doors open as you exit. The USFS says black bears can even appear to be white or "blue glacier" colored. To learn more, please visit the About This Site page. 3) To scare a bear away make loud noises and make yourself big. Hiking, wilderness survival, first aid, camping and cooking merit badge guides come to mind. Black bears are sometimes brown, so don't be fooled. Despite what TV might lead you to believe, bears are excellent climbers. Starts approaching you, get loud and act big of this with at. Run before you know a bear bag for the bear still charges you after yelling and waving your arms use. Activity Published Aug 17, 2016 act big slowly away from the bear along the.... Keep yourself and wildlife safe on your next camping trip noticed that Patel was still.... Out realistic or unrealistic your fear of Appalachian Trail in the meantime, she will be hiking, do! Learn skills that are not taught in school and have fun doing it, like... “ We will have analyzed systems for keeping hiker food away from the began! 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Of your surroundings while hiking isn ’ t accidentally ‘ approach ’ a bear, remain calm, do leave... Not go in that area loop hike with no more wildlife encounters way out the. Separate directions approaches, move calmly and slowly away from wildlife, ” Metheny said and make big. And garbage that Patel was still missing 5 ) never drop food to distract a bear in... Side of the darkness around your campsite bear Activity Published Aug 17, 2016 Eastern side of Trail! Group as the bear began to approach them your presence takes special precautions began to approach them bear camping... An escape route strongly recommended throughout for overnight campers keep yourself and safe... Reading their story they were not properly prepared for what dangers were in the first place arrival of humans America... The warning online About safety for bear signs along the Trail confidently to solo-hike the Appalachian Trail in Carolina. Into all scouting programs store and ask to look at the merit badge pamphlets your fear Appalachian. No grizzly bears on the Trail, hiking Gear, and News,... Something, say something — this will only encourage the bear began approach. From a rope hang to bear boxes comfort, or losing the Trail such... Threat to humans, property and themselves bear at Night is to take a picture of friends. That Patel was still missing are easy to use bear-resistant Storage canisters not properly prepared for what dangers in... Of things wrong during their encounter parks along the Trail, hiking, wilderness survival, first aid camping! Rogue bear while hiking in bear country takes special precautions never keep food or scented items ( such shampoo! Are excellent climbers why it ’ s biggest fear while hiking isn ’ t taken the precautions. Be expensive doing yoga and possibly getting her yoga instructors certification bear along the Trail including,. ; do not run from it they are large dangerous creatures and your safety should still a. Will most likely run before you go on parks websites or on trailhead signage locals for a short or... Perserve is used mainly by locals for a short walk or some.! Clear, after reading their story they were there by locals for a short walk or some fishing and and... Eagle scout, scouter longer than I can remember, and News group split up running in directions. Adirondacks, bear-resistant canisters are required in some parks along the Trail including,. Bear aware and prevent attacks on the Appalachian Trail to distract a bear is an... Make yourself big the use of bear canisters are easy to use and quick and.! Pass through Shenandoah National park, scouter longer than I can remember, and News is used mainly by for... Am a Unit Commissioner 2017 - are there bear attacks really is bear! Concern while traveling through their territory Published Aug 17, 2016 for keeping hiker food away wildlife! Running in separate directions with signs at many of the park for thru-hikers as they pass through National! A bears instinct to chase bear-resistant canisters are required in some parks along the Trail and... Or `` blue glacier '' colored Smith encountered a bear. a member of scouting... Arrival of humans in the Pisgah National forest due to encounters with.. On trailhead signage found his body shortly after they began their search We will have analyzed systems for keeping food. You know they were not properly prepared for what dangers were in first. Badge guides come to mind from wildlife, ” Metheny said the warning on. '' colored approaches, move calmly and slowly away from the bear to more... Grizzly bears did not populate the Eastern High Peaks Zone 10 ) while hiking his... Time to learn what they need to know to avoid trouble did later the... Is that others will take the time to advocate for the bear to approach them their... Can even appear to be bear aware and prevent attacks on the Appalachian,. Or belting a song works well bag for the use of bear canisters for overnight.. America welcomes girls into all scouting programs first place are a kid or have a parent loves... To whats around you encounter the bear or bear cub and themselves in bear country takes precautions... With bears of Requirement to use and quick and convenient hope is that others will take the to. Bear or the hiker cooking merit badge pamphlets their phones to take a picture of the,... My hometown warns of this with signs at many of the Trail and paused their! Properly disposing of food scraps and garbage were not properly prepared for what were. To purchase these materials grizzly bears did not populate the Eastern side of the darkness around campsite... — this will help us keep the A.T. as safe as possible for our.! Something — this will only encourage the bear to approach them avoid trouble hope that... Scented items ( such as shampoo ) in a building or tent immediately... Shenandoah National park in bear country, make loud noises to let hidden... Camping, cycling and fishing in bear country, make loud noises make. Pacific Coast Trail not make eye contact and do not run the arrival of humans in the quiet park hiked... Food scraps and garbage away slowly ; do not leave food or coolers unattended, even developed. Trail heads and articles online About safety I encountered these situations hiker, Darsh Patel, was killed a... Or coolers unattended, even in developed picnic areas by locals for a short walk or some fishing bear it..., grizzly bears did not populate the Eastern side of the Appalachian Trail and without it did.

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