NC/TN – Bear Activity – Clyde Smith Shelter




The ATC received a report of a food-conditioned bear at Clyde Smith Shelter (NOBO mile 370.5). The bear tried unsuccessfully to open a bear canister and the hikers involved were able to scare the bear off come dawn. The incident occurred on 05/22/2023 but was only recently reported.

The ATC strongly recommends that all overnight hikers use a bear canister for the duration of their time on the Appalachian Trail (A.T.). Bear canisters are the surest and most flexible means of food storage for camping along the A.T. to ensure that bears do not access human food.

The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) recently released a new food storage order that requires hikers to properly store food, refuse, and scented items (animal attractants) when camping on national forest land along the A.T. south of Shenandoah National Park.

In addition to properly storing food and scented items overnight, hikers should keep a clean camp, pack out all trash and food waste, and never leave food unattended. The hikers reported extensive trash in the shelter area.

Learn more about bear canisters and bear safety on the A.T. here.