Gregory Bald in the Smokies closed due to bear activity

Gregory Bald in the Smokies closed due to bear activity

Posted:
Black bear in cherry tree taken by Jim Bennett. (Source: GSMNP) Black bear in cherry tree taken by Jim Bennett. (Source: GSMNP)

GATLINBURG (WATE) - Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials have temporarily closed Gregory Bald and nearby trails including Gregory Bald Trail and Wolf Ridge Trail from Parson Bald to Gregory Bald. The closure is necessary to both protect bears and hikers.

At least a dozen bears are concentrated on Gregory Bald feeding on ripe cherries. The situation has led to several close encounters between hikers and bears creating an unacceptable safety risk. Wildlife biologists will be monitoring the area and expect the bears to disperse when the food source has been depleted.

“We regret the inconvenience to park visitors who were looking forward to a hike to Gregory Bald,” said Acting Superintendent Cindy MacLeod. “However, we feel this temporary closure is necessary to ensure the bears have an opportunity to feed undisturbed on natural foods and also to protect our visitors from defensive bear behavior.”

For more information on what to do if you encounter a bear while hiking, please visit the park website at http://www.nps.gov/grsm/naturescience/black-bears.htm.

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