Black Bears

U.S. National Park Service

As temperatures warm up and COVID restrictions are lifted more tourists are hitting the streets - and the trails of Western North Carolina.

However, this is the time of year when natural food for bears is most scarce.

Great Smoky Mountain National Park Wildlife Biologist Bill Stiver explained that most bear-human conflicts occur from mid-May through August because of this lack of food. Stiver says June is the most challenging month. 

USFS

An increase in bear encounters has prompted  the U.S. Forest Service to consider clamping down on food storage rules for campers in parts of Western North Carolina. BPR's Helen Chickering has details.