BLUE RIDGE - The U.S. Forest Service is again set to enact a requirement to cut down on conflicts between black bears and hikers in a portion of the Chattahoochee National Forest in our area.
The rule requires overnight campers along a stretch of trail to use bear-resistant canisters for garbage, toiletries and food. The containers trap odors and are designed to be tamper-resistant against extreme force.
Andy Baker is Blue Ridge District Ranger with the forest service.
"If you want to camp along a five-mile stretch of the Appalachian Trail in the Blood Mountain Wilderness, you need to have one of these canisters, otherwise we ask you to hike on through and not camp in that section," Baker said.
The stretch is from Jarrard Gap to Neels Gap.
The rule, which was first enacted last year, runs from March 1 to June 1. In previous years, concerns about hiker safety after repeated bear conflicts required temporary, seasonal camping closures for the area.
"The objective here is to make sure that bears don't equate hikers with food," Baker said.
According to the forest service, the measure worked with fewer bear/hiker run-ins last year.
It was developed with the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division.
For more information, use the link below or contact the Blue Ridge Ranger District Office at (706) 745-6928.