Bears on the move in NC, mountain leaf-lookers warned to be on the lookout

North Carolina news

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GRANDFATHER MOUNTAIN, N.C. (WBTV) – Visitors to Grandfather Mountain these days have a pretty good chance of seeing bears, and officials aren’t talking about the habitat at the resort.

There are several bears in that enclosure to view but the wild population on the mountains appears to be growing. There have been more sightings than most years and Grandfather Mountain State Park Ranger Mark Musumarra says people need to be aware of the bears.

“They’re incredibly smart,” he said.

Lately, they have been blamed for food thefts from campgrounds and missing equipment, too. As a result, some campsites along the profile trail have been closed to campers in hopes that the bears will move on to other areas.

The population has been growing in recent years, said Musumarra, and “that’s a good thing,” he said.

With the leaves starting to have that fall look in places, a lot of people are expected over the next month in and around the Grandfather Mountain State Park. Visitors are advised to be aware of their surroundings and when hiking, to be sure they make enough noise so bears will stay away.

It’s the time of year, though, that bears are looking for extra food in preparation for the winter, so encounters are possible. Musumarra advises people never to run away from a bear. He says the best thing to do is raise your arms and make a lot of noise.

“You always want to keep your eyes on it and slowly back away.”

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