published Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

Smoky Mountain trails closed while bears feed

CADES COVE, Tenn. — The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has temporarily closed some popular hiking trails due to black bears feeding in the area.

A statement from the National Park Service says there are at least 12 bears feeding on ripe cherries in the Gregory Bald area, and that has led to several close encounters between bears and hikers. The closed areas include Gregory Bald Trail and Wolf Ridge Trail from Parson Bald to Gregory Bald.

The statement says the trails will be closed until the bears disperse, which is expected to happen after they've depleted the food source.

Acting Superintendent Cindy MacLeod says the action is necessary for the safety of hikers and the bears.

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