Campground in Cherokee National Forest closed due to bear activity

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The U.S. Forest Service said it is temporality closing a Greene County campground because of bear activity.

Officials are working to capture a bear safely in the Paint Creek Campground area near the Tennessee-North Carolina border.

The Forest Service says the closure will last until the bear is captured.

“Based on the reported behavior of the bear it is certainly conditioned to foods in the campground and losing its fear of people,” TWRA Black Bear Program leader Dan Gibbs said. “An effort to trap the bear is the preferred course of action. This will reduce opportunity for its behavior to escalate which could result in injury to someone utilizing the campground.”

Officials are also warning visitors to be on the lookout for black bears and be BearWise. Visitors are prohibited from possessing or leaving food, bear attractant, or refuse unless it is possessed properly or stored properly. Food odors and improperly stored garbage will attract bears to campsites and picnic areas, even when humans are around.

Though bears are naturally afraid of humans, bears habituated to human food can begin to associate human scents with the reward of food. Due to this, bears can become a threat to humans, property and themselves.

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