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Bear activity closes Appalachian Trail shelters

Bear activity closes Appalachian Trail shelters

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Aggressive bear activity along the Appalachian Trail has resulted in the closing of some shelters.

The Appalachian Trail between Double Springs Shelter and the intersection with Backbone Rock Side Trail will be closed to camping until further notice. McQueen’s Knob Shelter and Abingdon Gap Shelter are both closed, according to the Cherokee National Forest. Thru-hiking on the trail is still allowed.

U.S. Forest Service officials are also warning visitors to be on the lookout for black bears. Visitors are prohibited from possessing or leaving food, bear attractant or refuse unless it is possessed properly or stored properly, the Forest Service said.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency said bear sightings, such as some in the Middlebrook section of Bristol, Tennessee recently, are common this time of year as the animals look for food. The bear population has grown substantially in the past decade.

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