Paint Creek Campground temporarily closed because of bear activity

Release Date: Jul 17, 2021

Contact(s): Ashley Miller, Public Information and Community Engagement


CLEVELAND, TENN., July 17, 2021—Paint Creek Campground is being temporarily closed to allow officials to safely capture a bear in the area. The bear has been in the area for several weeks and state officials have recommended this course to keep both the bear and campers safe. The closure will last until the bear is captured.

“Based on the reported behavior of the bear it is certainly conditioned to foods in the campground and losing its fear of people,” said Dan Gibbs, TWRA Black Bear Program Leader. “An effort to trap the bear is the preferred course of action. This will reduce opportunity for its behavior to escalate which could result in injury to someone utilizing the campground.”

U.S. Forest Service officials are also warning visitors to be on the lookout for black bears and be BearWise. Visitors are reminded of the Forest Order for the entire Cherokee National Forest that prohibits possessing or leaving food, bear attractant, or refuse unless it is possessed properly or stored properly. The Order was issued to provide for visitor safety and the conservation of bears.

Black bears in the wild are opportunistic, feeding on whatever is readily available. Food odors and improperly stored garbage will attract bears to campsites and picnic areas, even when humans are around. Though bears are naturally afraid of humans, bears habituated to human food can begin to associate human scents with the reward of food. Due to this, bears can become a threat to humans, property, and themselves.

For more information on bear safety, visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/cherokee/home/?cid=stelprdb5263029.

Paint Creek Campground is located in Greene County, near Greeneville, TN. More information about the site can be found at https://www.recreation.gov/camping/campgrounds/10056245.

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