Bear encounters continue: Forest Service asks backcountry campers to avoid Panthertown Valley

Press release

from the U.S. Forest Service

The U.S. Forest Service is discouraging people from backcountry camping and from bringing food into the Panthertown Valley area of the Nantahala Ranger District, Nantahala National Forest, following several bear encounters. The area is northeast of Cashiers, N.C.

If the visitors choose to camp in the Panthertown area, they should camp in areas that are used infrequently.

Three separate incidences of bear encounters occurred recently that involved damaged tents and stolen food. Some of the food was properly hung in trees. No injuries were reported. The incidents occurred in the vicinity of the Mac’s Gap, Green Valley and the Little Green Mountain area.

• Campers are encouraged to prevent bear interactions by taking the following steps:

• Do not store food in tents.

• Properly store food by hanging it in a tree or in another secure container.

• Clean up food or garbage around fire rings, grills or other areas of your campsite.

• Do not leave food unattended.

For more tips, visit

Campers who carry a firearm for protection must abide by all applicable laws. More information is available at:

About Margaret Williams
Editor Margaret Williams first wrote for Xpress in 1994. An Alabama native, she has lived in Western North Carolina since 1987 and completed her Masters of Liberal Arts & Sciences from UNC-Asheville in 2016. Follow me @mvwilliams

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