Spring has arrived, and with more people visiting the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests, the U.S. Forest Service reminds visitors to practice simple steps to avoid black bear encounters.
Never keep food or scented items (such as shampoo) in a tent.
Keep a clean camp site by properly disposing of food scraps and garbage.
Do not leave food or garbage inside fire rings, grills or around your site.
Never leave food or coolers unattended, even in developed picnic areas.
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.
If a bear approaches, move away slowly; do not run. Get into a vehicle or a secure building.
If you are attacked by a black bear, try to fight back using any object available. Playing dead is not appropriate.
Black bears can become a threat to humans, property and themselves-a pattern that normally ends with death, either for the bear or a human.