The U.S. Forest Service National Forests in North Carolina is reopening campgrounds and trails in the Mount Mitchell area of the Appalachian Ranger District, Pisgah National Forest. The agency closed a number of sites earlier this month because of human encounters with bears.

The Mountain Express reported that the following facilities or sites will be reopened by the end of today (Aug. 29):

  • Briar Bottom Campground.
  • Black Mountain Campground.
  • Neals Creek Road.
  • Buncombe Horse Trail- from Forest Service Road 472 to the intersection the Big Tom Gap trail (TR 1918).
  • Mt. Mitchell Trail – from Black Mountain Campground to Mt. Mitchell State Park.
  • Mountain to Sea Trail – From State Hwy. 128 to Black Mountain Camp Ground.
  • Higgins Bald Trail (TR 1908).
  • Forest Service Road 472 will be reopened tomorrow.

However, backcountry camping remains closed in the above-mentioned areas as the Forest Service continues to monitor bear activity in the area.

On Aug. 10 and Aug. 12, the Forest Service closed campgrounds and other sites in the Appalachian Ranger District because of a number of human encounters with bears. During the following weeks, the Forest Service monitored bear activity and has deemed it safe to reopen the areas.