Just one day after North Carolina State Parks and Recreation made a post to their socials celebrating the black bear for #WildlifeWednesday, a camper in Gorges State Park was heavily damaged by the very same species. In response the campground will be closed for the next two weeks and they are using the incident as a teaching moment to educate visitors on proper bear safety protocols.

North Carolina State Parks and Recreation:

Well… this is awkward. Yesterday, we posted a black bear for Wildlife Wednesday, and lo and behold, last night, we had a not-so-little visitor at the campground at Gorges State Park. Maybe they thought the photo we used was unflattering?

Visitors and the bear are fine, and park staff are working on implementing bear aversion tactics. But this does mean that the Gorges campground is closed for the next 2 weeks. If you have a camping reservation between now and November 16, you will receive a full refund.

The park remains open for day-use, but we advise visitors to always use caution (at Gorges and all state parks in bear country).

BE AWARE, try to make noise periodically, and don’t use earbuds. (The bear more than likely hates your taste in music and podcasts anyway.)

DON’T HIKE ALONE, if possible! Take someone with you. (Whether you choose someone who looks more appetizing than you is your business, but keep in mind that beauty is in the eye of the bear-holder.)

Always KEEP YOUR PETS ON A LEASH or leave them at home. (Dogs are friends, not food. If anyone can translate that into bear language, let us know. In the meantime, 6-foot leash at all times!)

PACK OUT OR DISPOSE OF ALL FOOD AND TRASH. (It’s rude to leave things at the bear’s house, and they’re clearly already grumpy.)

But seriously folks, stay safe out there! DO NOT APPROACH A BEAR AND/OR TRY TO GIVE IT FOOD! If you encounter a bear, back away slowly and quietly in the opposite direction.

Park rules exist to keep you and wildlife safe. Our friends North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission have more great BearWise tips here: https://www.ncwildlife.org/promotion/bearwise

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