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Bear attacks teen in Smoky Mountains park, trail closures ordered
June 8, 2015 / 6:38 PM / 2 years ago

Bear attacks teen in Smoky Mountains park, trail closures ordered

(Reuters) - Several trails and campsites in Great Smoky Mountains National Park were closed on Monday after a 16-year-old Ohio boy who was camping at the park in North Carolina was injured in a black bear attack this weekend, the park said.

The teenager was camping with his father in the park’s Hazel Creek area in North Carolina when the bear pulled him from his hammock around 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, a park statement said.

His father drove the bear away from the area, but the boy, whose name has not been released, suffered multiple injuries, including cuts on his head, and was taken to a North Carolina hospital in stable condition, according to the statement.

The park has closed four trails and six backcountry campsites until further notice. A shelter along the Appalachian Trail was also closed due to recent bear activity there that is possibly related, said Molly Schroer, a parks spokeswoman.

She said the boy and his father had properly stored their equipment and food on aerial food storage cables.

“At this point, we think that everything was done the way that it should have been,” Schroer said.

An estimated 1,500 black bears, which can weigh between 100 to 500 pounds, live in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and its website warns that there is increased bear activity at this time.

“While incidents with bears are rare, we ask park visitors to take necessary precautions while hiking in bear country and comply with all backcountry closures,” said Cassius Cash, the park’s superintendent.

Reporting by Katie Reilly in New York; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Emily Stephenson

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