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Da bears … Bruins bring an early end to camping

Don’t feed the bears. And now, don’t camp, picnic or linger near them, either.

The U. S. Forestry Service has posted signs closing recreation areas on Oliver Hollow Road to all activities except through hiking because of increased bear activity in that area.

The U. S. Forestry Service has posted signs closing recreation areas on Oliver Hollow Road to all activities except through hiking because of increased bear activity in that area.

Signs of a rise in bear activity in the Oliver Hollow area have resulted in signs of a different kind: Those posted by the U.S. Forest Service closing recreation areas to any activity except through hiking.
The signs posted along Oliver Hollow Road at access to the recreation area say the National Forest System land from Oliver Hollow Road to Wilbur Dam is closed effective June 3 through Dec. 1 by order of the Forest Service. The signs said that picnicking, lingering and overnight camping are prohibited, and hiking is limited to the Appalachian Trail only.
“Help us protect you and the bears,” states the signs. “Please continue hiking through the area without stopping.”
According to the signs, the shelter in the Oliver Hollow area is also closed at this time because of increased bear activity.
Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency officials are also warning of increased bear activity in the area of Oliver Hollow around Watauga Lake, and is advising people to use caution in that area.
TWRA Wildlife Officer Dennis Ward said the TWRA currently recommends no picnicking or open cooking in that area because of the bear activity.
Oliver Hollow is just off U.S. Highway 321 in Hampton along the edge of Watauga Lake. The Shook Branch Recreation Area is located nearby and the Appalachian Trail also runs through the Oliver Hollow area as it heads toward the Watauga Dam area.