Pisgah National Forest staff report several recent instances of bear encounters in the Table Rock Picnic Area on the Grandfather Ranger District. Please exercise caution in this area, and always be aware of your surroundings.
Black bears in the wild are opportunistic, feeding on whatever is readily available. Food odors and improperly stored garbage will attract bears to campsites and picnic areas, even when humans are around. Though bears are naturally afraid of humans, bears habituated to human food can begin to associate human scents with the reward of food. Due to this, bears can become a threat to humans, property, and themselves. Remember, a fed bear is a dead bear.
You can protect yourself and protect bears by storing trash and food in safe locations during your visit. This can be done by keeping items in bear-proof canisters, inside trailers, and in the trunk of a vehicle. Food and trash left in passenger areas of vehicles can still attract bears and potentially lead to property damage. Do not leave food or coolers unattended. Never store scented items in your tent, including toothpaste, deodorant, beverages, or snacks. Pick up all garbage around your site, including inside fire rings, grills, and tables and properly store with your food or dispose in a bear-proof trash receptacle.
If a bear is observed nearby, pack up food and trash immediately and vacate the area. If necessary, attempt to scare the animal away with loud shouts or making noise. If a bear approaches, do not run, but move away slowly and get into a vehicle or building. In the event of a bear attack, do not play dead. Try to fight back and act aggressively. Carrying EPA registered bear spray is another way to combat bear attacks.
If you encounter a bear while on the forest, please inform the district office. You can find more information by visiting fs.usda.gov/nfsnc