Hikers Warned About Increased Bear Activity

Published Aug 17, 2016

Following an incident where a bear killed a hiker's dog in the park, authorities with the Shenandoah National Park are warning hikers about increased bear activity. They want hikers to know how to react -- and not react -- if confronted by a bear along the Appalachian Trail or elsewhere.

The Snead Farm Fire Road and Loop Trail are closed due to an incident with a mother bear and two cubs that resulted in the death of a dog. In addition to these closures, pet owners who bring their pets to the Park are asked to avoid the Dickey Ridge area. In other areas pets must be kept on a leash no longer than six feet.

Fluffy and Max might think they're protecting you by barking at a bear or trying to scare it away. That's a deadly error, unfortunately. Protect yourself and your pets when hiking.

Avoiding Bears While Hiking

  • Stay alert to your surroundings and the presence of wildlife while hiking.
  • If possible hike in groups. Keep children close to the group.
  • When you spot a bear, make noise to ensure that the bear is aware of your presence.
  • If the bear doesn't leave the area, take a detour or slowly back away.
  • Making noise during your retreat is appropriate. Keep children close to the group.
  • Do not pursue and NEVER surround a bear. Give it room to escape.
  • DO NOT run! Bears will pursue prey. Running signals them to start pursuit.
  • If a bear approaches and you have no escape route, stand tall, wave your arms, yell, clap, and throw rocks to deter the bear.
  • Discharge pepper spray if you have it.

If you are attacked by a black bear always fight back. Focus your attack on the bear's eyes and nose.

Increased Bear Activity in Shenandoah National Park

Tags: Attractions, Tourism, Appalachian Trail, Hiking, Hiking Gear, Accidents, Closures, Robert Sutherland Travel Writer, Safety, Hiking Safety, Information, News, appalachian trail hikers, and increased bear activity shenandoah national park

About the Author Robert Sutherland:
Robert Sutherland is a travel writer enjoying life. Robert has two adult daughters and six grandchildren.
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