Fees & Passes - Great Smoky Mountains National Park (U.S. National Park  Service)
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Courtesy: National Park Service

The National Park Service is reporting that Patrick Madura, a 43-year-old man from Illinois, was killed last year in Great Smoky Mountains National Park by a black bear.

NPS says its just the 2nd bear-related fatality in the park’s history.

Here’s the report from NPS:

“On Sept. 11, 2020, backpackers initially found an unoccupied tent at campsite 82, a backcountry campsite in the park’s Hazel Creek Area. They later discovered what appeared to be human remains across the creek with a bear scavenging in the area and reported the incident to authorities. Upon arriving at campsite 82, park law enforcement rangers and wildlife officers observed a bear actively scavenging on the remains and promptly euthanized the bear. Hazel Creek Trail and campsite 82 were closed in response to the incident and have since reopened.”

A medical examiner has since determined that Madura’s cause of death was likely related to trauma caused by a bear attack.

Photo by Bill Pennell on Unsplash

Although black bear attacks are uncommon, park officials recommend taking the following steps while recreating in bear country:

Hikers are reminded to take necessary precautions while in bear country, including hiking in groups of three or more, carrying bear spray, complying with all backcountry closures, properly following food storage regulations, and remaining at a safe viewing distance from bears at all times.

If attacked by a black bear, rangers strongly recommend fighting back with any object available. Remember that the bear may view you as prey. In this circumstance, people should attempt to look large and not run or turn away from the bear.”

Our thoughts and condolences are with the friends and family of the deceased.

Featured Photo by John Thomas on Unsplash 

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