ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP/WNCN) – The National Park Service says a couple having a picnic on the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina survived multiple bear attacks which it says may have been triggered by their barking dog.
News outlets report a news release from the park service says the couple were near the Folk Art Center on Wednesday when they were alerted to the bear by their dog.
Officials say the dog ran toward the bear, which made repeated attacks on the couple before they retreated to their car with the dog.
The two people were treated at an Asheville hospital and later released.
WJZY reported that several trails and areas near the attack site have been closed because of the “bold and aggressive nature” of the bear attack.
Closures and restrictions include:
- The Mountains to Sea Trail from the intersection with the Visitor Center Loop Trail near parkway milepost 384 to Riceville Road Bridge at milepost 382
- The Folk Art Center Nature Loop Trail and all trails accessed off of Bull Mountain Road
- Picnicking is prohibited between the Asheville Visitor Center and adjacent parking areas near parkway milepost 384 to the Haw Creek Overlook near milepost 380
During the busy fall visitation season on the Blue Ridge Parkway, visitors are reminded that the fall is also a critical feeding period for bears before they enter winter hibernation, officials said.
The park service said they are trying to track down and capture the bear that was involved in the attack.