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Appalachian Trail News From Shenandoah National Park -- Overnight Camping Closed

Credit: National Park Service Digital Image Archives [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
If you are heading down to hike the Appalachian Trail through Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, there is an alert that you should know about. Though the alert is temporary, it is an important one for a hiker's safety and the safety of wildlife local to the park.

The news alert from the park is a temporary closure of overnight use along the Appalachian Trail in the Rip Rap-Wildcat ridge area. The closure extends from the Rip Rap trailhead (mile 90)  to just south of the Wildcat Ridge parking where the A.T. crosses Skyline Drive.

The closure is designed to minimize contact with local bears. There have been two recent incidents involving bears being able to access human food in that area. This closure, however, does not include designated campsites or A.T. shelters and is for overnight use only.

The park does suggest, that although encounters with bears are rare, to be prepared and know how to handle those encounters. The National Park Service has a webpage for " Staying Safe Around Bears" which available in the link below.

Staying Safe Around Bears - Bears (U.S. National Park Service)

Seeing a bear in the wild is a special treat for any visitor to a national park. While it is an exciting moment, it is important to remember that bears in national parks are wild and can be dangerous. Their behavior is sometimes unpredictable. Although rare, attacks on humans have occurred, inflicting serious injuries and death.

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