Smokies officials advise precautions while bears are active

Generic bear photo

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) – It’s an active time of year for bears, and Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials say visitors should take precautions to keep themselves and bears safe.

Park Wildlife Biologist Bill Stiver says there have been reports across the park of bear sightings. Stiver advises the public to respect the bears.

The park says allow bears to forage undisturbed on natural foods and don’t feed them. Food should be properly stored and garbage secured. Coolers should also be stored in a vehicle trunk when not in use. Dispose of food waste properly to discourage bears from approaching people.

Hikers should hike in groups of two or more, carry bear spray, comply with backcountry closures, properly store food and remain at a safe distance from bears.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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