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Camping prohibited due to bear activity

From Staff Reports

U.S. Forest Service officials at the Cherokee National Forest recently announced that camping in the Clarks Creek area of the Unaka Ranger District will be temporarily closed due to black bear activity in the area. Day-use activities including fishing, horseback riding and hiking are still permitted.

Clarks Creek is a Cherokee National Forest dispersed use area located on National Forest System Road 25 in Washington and Unicoi counties. Access to Clarks Creek is from State Route 107 approximately 13 miles east of Greeneville.

Black bears are opportunists and become habituated to areas where food and trash has been improperly discarded or stored and is easily available.

Visitors are reminded to:

  • Never feed bears or leave pet food out;
  • Never approach a bear – they are wild animals;
  • Never leave food unattended;
  • Do not discard any food scraps on the ground or in streams;
  • Store food in a vehicle or other secure place when not in use;
  • Clean up and carry trash out when departing.

More safety information is available at:

Keeping an area clean and free of trash and food can greatly reduce the chances of encounters with bears. Never feed bears or leave pet food out where bears have access to.  Your cooperation with these simple tips can help break the cycle of bears returning to the same area in search of human food, protecting you and the bears.

For more information about safety around bears visit the Outdoor Safety in the South website at:

For local national forest information call the Unaka Ranger Station at 638-4109.