Skip to Content

Dangerous interactions put bear and human lives at risk, parkway officials say

By Madison Smith

Click here for updates on this story

    ASHEVILLE, North Carolina (WLOS) — Unsafe interactions between humans and bears have caused a stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway to close.

The problem has picked up within the last few weeks, prompting parkway officials to temporarily close the parkway from milepost 367.6 to milepost 375.6. That’s near the Craggy Gardens picnic area to Ox Creek Road.

In a social media post, parkway officials said they’ve received several reports of visitors feeding and trying to hold a young black bear around the Lane Pinnacle Overlook.

Parkway biologist Tom Davis said the decision to close part of the road was a safety precaution for humans and bears.

“What we’re calling panhandler bears, bears that are finding humans food, have a life expectancy of half of what wild bears do because they are interacting with people,” Davis said. “They are wandering into traffic. They are coming into residential areas that put them at risk of being injured by us.”

Davis also said this behavior causes bears to not participate in normal activities, like hibernating. It also makes them larger than they need to be due to access to human food.

Parkway officials said they will reevaluate at the end of the week before deciding when they will reopen.

Please note: This content carries a strict local market embargo. If you share the same market as the contributor of this article, you may not use it on any platform.

Article Topic Follows: CNN - Regional

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

CNN Newsource


KIFI Local News 8 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content