Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials temporarily close trails due to bear sightings

Hints of fall color have started to pop at the highest elevations of the Smokies.
Hints of fall color have started to pop at the highest elevations of the Smokies.(Kyle Grainger, WVLT)
Published: Oct. 26, 2022 at 5:46 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - Officials with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park said one of its trails is temporarily closed due to bear activity.

Officials said the Gatlinburg Trail between Gatlinburg and Sugarland’s Visitor Center, and also the Twin Creeks Trail between Gatlinburg and the Twin Creeks Science and Education Center are closed.

They said a large concentration of black bears are feeding on acorns in these areas and the trails will remain closed until further notice for the safety of visitors and to allow the bears to feed.

Bears depend on fall foods such as acorns and grapes to store fat reserves that enable them to survive the winter. They move around a lot during the fall looking for acorns, with some traveling more than 30 miles to feed in a particular stand of oak trees, officials said.

The bears will often feed for more than 12 hours a day and can be concentrated in areas where abundant food sources are found. They said during this timer, the bears might act aggressively to defend these areas.

For more information on what to do if a bear encounter occurs, visit http://www.nps.gov/grsm/naturescience/black-bears.htm