The Smoky Mountain Hiking Blog
The regulation was first issued in 2012 by the Forest Service in its place to closing the world alongside the Appalachian Trail in the Blood Mountain Wilderness to camping. In earlier years, considerations about hiker safety after repeated bear conflicts required of permanent, seasonal camping closures for the area. Now, hikers have the choice of camping in the area by-round as long as they carry and use a bear-resistant canister within the springtime. The requirement was developed in session with the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division.
“We took this measure to protect hikers and make our campsites less alluring to the bears that reside right here,” stated Blue Ridge District Ranger Andy Baker. Bear-resistant canisters trap odors inside, eliminating the lure of food, and they are designed to be tamper-resistant in opposition to extreme force. The regulation requires that the canisters used must be strong and non-pliable. These canisters may be bought or rented at most retail stores and on-line sellers that inventory camping gear.
“Any bear that associating individuals with food is a harmful bear as a result of it’s going to be aggressive,” stated Baker. The storage regulation is obligatory for all dispersed camping in the Blood Mountain Wilderness inside a quarter mile of the path from Jarrard Gap to Neels Gap, which includes the Blood Mountain Shelter and Woods Hole Shelter.
It also includes the dispersed camping areas within Jarrard Gap. Hikers who select not to camp alongside this part of the trail are usually not required to carry a canister. Traditional food storage methods within the wilderness, reminiscent of hanging meals bags between trees, are usually not allowed as a substitute for using a bear-resistant canister beneath this regulation. Forest officials say black bear encounters have elevated significantly lately in the Blood Mountain Wilderness. Bears develop into extra energetic as the seasons and weather change. They’re particularly drawn to human meals introduced into the wilderness in the early spring when natural meals sources will not be yet plentiful. This can be the peak season for northbound Appalachian Trail hikers to start their journeys.
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