ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WSPA) – An eight-mile stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway is closed after reports of visitors feeding and attempting to hold a young bear.
According to the National Park Service, the parkway will be closed between milepost 367.6 near Craggy Gardens Picnic area to milepost 375.6 at Ox Creek Road in Buncombe County. The visitor center at milepost 364.5 will also close.
The section of parkway, located just northeast of Asheville, will be closed until further notice.
Blue Ridge Parkway rangers said there were multiple reports of visitors feeding and attempting to hold the bear in recent weeks at the Lane Pinnacle Overlook.
“We are closing this section of the road temporarily for the safety of both the bear and park visitors,” said Superintendent Tracy Swartout. “When people intentionally attract bears with trash and food it can lead to very dangerous situations. In this instance we want to give the bear a chance to lose interest in the area before the situation escalates and visitors or the bear are harmed.”
The Craggy Gardens recreational area will remain accessible via NC Highway 80 from the north.