Aggressive bear closes tenting at spot alongside Appalachian Path | WJHL


JOHNSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) – The Abingdon Gap Shelter along the Appalachian Trail has been closed to camping following reports of an aggressive bear.

A statement from the US Forest Service said camping from the Tennessee-Virginia border to the Low Gap-Hwy 421 intersection is closed until further notice due to bear activity.

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The Forest Service provided the following map to describe exactly which part of the trail is not available for camping:

Photo courtesy of the US Forest Service

Anyone using the Appalachian Trail in this region is cautioned to exercise caution and keep an eye out for black bears. Some of the tips the US Forest Service reminds hikers are:

  • Avoid walking, hiking, jogging, or cycling alone
  • Keep dogs on a leash
  • Make noise so the bears know you are nearby
  • Wear bear spray and know how to use it properly
  • If you encounter a bear, don’t run away. Slowly back away while making noise and don’t turn your back on the bear
  • In the unlikely event that you are attacked or come into contact with a black bear, fight back

Officials are asking that anyone who sees a bear in the area report it to the campground host or the Watauga Ranger District Office at 423-735-1500.