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. gearhose.com/bear-safety-camping-backpacking/. 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. A Combat Veteran's Advice for Veterans. 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 … Currently, bear canisters are required in some parks along the trail, and are strongly recommended throughout for overnight campers. 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? Stay aware of your surroundings while hiking, so you don’t accidentally ‘approach’ a bear or bear cub. I was nearly 7 miles from my vehicle and alone. The trail is about 2,200 miles (3,500 km) long, though the exact length changes over time as parts are rerouted or modified. 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. Just how risky is it out there? If attacked in a building or tent, immediately fight back. Forest Service Reminds Appalachian Trail Hikers of Requirement to Use Bear-Resistant Storage Canisters. 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. Those who haven’t taken the proper precautions put themselves at great risk. 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. Talking loudly with a friend or belting a song works well. 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. https://appalachiantrail.org/explore/plan-and-prepare/hiking-basics/safety/bears If you see this reflection, congratulations! Read on to find out realistic or unrealistic your fear of Appalachian Trail bear attacks really is. My parents were attentive and taught me early on how to react safely when I encountered these situations. 3) To scare a bear away make loud noises and make yourself big. 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. 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. Terri Werning’s biggest fear while hiking isn’t elevation, bears, or losing the trail. This group could have done better with this safety information and without it they did a number of things wrong during their encounter. It was clear, after reading their story they were not properly prepared for what dangers were in the quiet park they hiked in. 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. 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. 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. Never keep food or scented items (such as shampoo) in a tent. They did later encounter the bear along the trail and paused with their phones to take photos from a distance. What might happen if you encounter a wild North American black bear on the AT or anywhere else. 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. 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. Just how risky is it out there? 2) If you have encountered a bear, remain calm, do not make eye contact and DO NOT RUN from it. 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. Do not lock the bear in a room. Here's one such encounter. Hiking, wilderness survival, first aid, camping and cooking merit badge guides come to mind. 6) Do not try to climb trees to escape a bear. Instead, move calmly and slowly away from the bear leaving it an escape route. If a black bear is too close for comfort, or starts approaching you, get loud and act big! Even in the late 19 th century, the furthest east the grizzly bears were found were the present-day states of … 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. 10) While hiking in bear country, make loud noises to let any hidden bears know of your presence. Alarm set in to the group as the bear began to approach them. Find … #camping #backpacking #hiking #appalachiantrail Bears in this area are frequently easy to scare. Hikers Warned About Increased Bear Activity Published Aug 17, 2016. In New York’s Adirondacks, bear-resistant canisters are required in the Eastern High Peaks Zone. If a bear approaches, move away slowly; do not run. Bear canisters are easy to use and quick and convenient. Leave the area. 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!) Thanks for your support! You will learn skills that are not taught in school and have fun doing it. DO NOT climb trees to escape a bear. Bear Safety Tips for Hikers. Areas of the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina require bear canisters for overnight camping in the Pisgah National Forest due to encounters with bears. The USFS says black bears can even appear to be white or "blue glacier" colored. 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. Instead, leave doors open as you exit. If you know a bear is in an area do not go in that area. Do not leave food or garbage inside fire rings, grills or around your site. The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department has safety tips about what to do if you meet Yogi on the trail. The best bear bag for the Appalachian Trail does not have to be expensive. Happy safe hiking! 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. Tags: Appalachian Trail, Hiking, Hiking Gear, and News. Bear encounters can be pleasant or dangerous. Never approach a bear. My hope is that others will take the time to learn what they need to know to avoid trouble. 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. Visit a scout store and ask to look at the merit badge pamphlets. 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. Sadly, safety around wildlife is not taught early on to every person who makes their way into the woods. To learn more, please visit the About This Site page. I headed out confidently to solo-hike the Appalachian Trail in 2013. Police found his body shortly after they began their search. Apshawa Perserve is used mainly by locals for a short walk or some fishing. Although I was a bit apprehensive I finished my loop hike with no more wildlife encounters. 5) Never drop food to distract a bear. Want to hire her? Playing dead is not appropriate. Keep a clean camp site by properly disposing of food scraps and garbage. It’s men. Areas of the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina require bear canisters for overnight camping in the Pisgah National Forest due to encounters with bears. Give the bear an escape route. Black bears are common sights for thru-hikers as they pass through Shenandoah National Park. Check conditions before you go on parks websites or on trailhead signage. 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. Back away, while calmly repeating "Hey bear." If the bear still charges you after yelling and waving your arms, use bear spray if you have it. Plus how to be bear aware and prevent attacks on the Appalachian Trail in the first place. In what was most likely a panic, the group split up running in separate directions. The best way to spot a bear at night is to take a picture of the darkness around your campsite. What would you do if you met a bear in the woods? Great please get in touch. If you are a kid or have a parent who loves kids like you, join a pack, troop or venturing crew. 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. Safety Tips for Bear Encounters. Bears are much faster than you and running could trigger a bears instinct to chase. Remain calm. Yelling again, the second (perhaps the same) bear ran over the hill. Dec 23, 2017 - Are there bear attacks on the Appalachian Trail? The noise could have easily been a deer. 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. 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. 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. Take Special Precautions. Published Aug 17, 2016. Here is another article on the same topic. 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. Black bears can become a threat to humans, property and themselves. Lesson Number Two: How to Spot a Giant Black Bear at Night. 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. 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 are attacked by a black bear, try to fight back using any object available. There are no grizzly bears on the Appalachian Trail. May 19, 2019 - Are there bear attacks on the Appalachian Trail? 1) Never approach a bear. After a bear killed a hiker's dog in the park, authorities with the Shenandoah National Park are warning hikers about increased bear activity. They promptly called 911 when they noticed that Patel was still missing. Nice article with some great tips. Despite what TV might lead you to believe, bears are excellent climbers. You've found a black bear! Hawk Metheny, Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s New England Regional Director, took time to advocate for the use of bear canisters. Yet, they are large dangerous creatures and your safety should still be a concern while traveling through their territory. 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