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Gatlinburg trails closed after bears 'bluff charge' hikers

Gatlinburg trails closed after bears ‘bluff charge’ hikers

Knoxville, Tenn. (WVLT) – Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced Wednesday that they would be closing some trails in Gatlinburg after reported bear activity.

Dana Soehn, a representative with the park, told WVLT News the trails were closed due to increased “bluff charges.”

“Along a couple of the trails in these areas, we have had instances over the last week where people have gotten too close to those feeding areas,” Soehn said. “Those bears have bluff charged, putting the visitors at risk and disrupting that natural heat behavior.”

Soehn said bluff charging is something bears do to scare off humans entering their area, and while the bear normally backs off, things can go wrong when people push the bear further.

The affected routes are the Gatlinburg Trail between Gatlinburg and Sugarlands Visitor Center and the Twin Creeks Trail between Gatlinburg and the Twin Creeks Science and Education Center. Both trails are due to close because of a “large concentration of black bears feeding on acorns.”

The move comes just days after a man was injured in Gatlinburg after a bear broke into a rented cabin. “Generally bears are solitary, however, during the fall, several bears may be seen feeding in close proximity,” officials said.

The trails will be closed until further notice. Here’s what to do if you see a bear.

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