The Pisgah National Forest is warning visitors to Bent Creek Experimental Forest and Black Balsam on the Pisgah Ranger District to be on the look-out for black bears.

Increased reports of bear activity in these areas indicate that visitors should take precautions to avoid encounters.

This time of the year black bears are opportunistically looking for food that campers and trail users bring on their trips. 

While black bear attacks on people are rare, such attacks have resulted in human fatalities.

Visitors are encouraged to prevent bear interactions by not storing food in tents and always store food and scented items like toothpaste by using a bear-proof container. Clean up food or garbage around fire rings, grills, or other areas of your campsite. Do not leave food unattended.

Also, visitors should keep dogs on a leash.

There are more tips about bear safety online at FS.USDA.gov/NFSNC.

While the warning statement is specifically for Bent Creek and Black Balsam, bears have been sighted in other areas, and visitors should use caution and practice these safety tips in any forest area.