The U.S. Forest Service has issued a bear alert for several high-elevation areas near the Blue Ridge Parkway in Haywood County.
Six encounters over the past two weeks have been reported in which bears have taken food from campsites, damaging packs and tents, according to the Forest Service. No one has been injured.
The incidents occurred in the Graveyard Fields, Black Balsam and Shining Rock Wilderness areas just off the Blue Ridge Parkway.
People who plan to hike or camp in these areas should use care when storing food or disposing of garbage.
The Forest Service offers the following tips:
* Do not store food in tents.
* Properly store food by hanging it in a tree or in hard-sided secure container.
* Clean up food or garbage around fire rings, grills or other areas of your campsite.
* Do not leave food unattended