Cohutta Wilderness Georgia - Beech Bottom Trail - BEAR!

10:18 a.m. on August 8, 2013 (EDT)
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I took a group of 5 last weekend overnight backpack on Beech Bottom Trail to Jack's River falls.  It's a bit of a hassle to get to the trailhead - about an hr or so on Forest Svc roads.  It's a very easy hike and the falls are more than worth the effort.  Camping is a problem as FS prohibits camping within .5 mile of the falls.  We camped at the last possible allowed location on the trail.  There's a sign that prohibits camping beyond. We went off on a spur trail 100 yds or so to a well used camp area.  Around 7:30 a 300 lb black bear showed up circling our camp and not at all put off by our presence.  There are no good limbed trees in the area so we did the best we could with our bear bag about 20' up but only about 3' away from the trunk.  Within a .5 hr we heard and then saw the bear climb the tree and get all of our food.  He hung around eating it for quite awhile and then came back at 2:30 for leftovers and then back again around 8 for bkfst.  We didn't sleep that well as you might imagine.  We were up at cleaned everything up just before he came back in the morning so he prowled about and then withdrew.  The FS should mark the area as this is obviously a problem bear that has been habituated to people and is used to getting their food.  He made no aggressive moves toward us but then we didn't challenge him for our food either.  We met an FS ranger on the way out and he said he wouldn't camp anywhere near there as it's probably the most common area to encounter bears - and anywhere near the falls as people eat there and don't pick up well.  All in all, a more exciting trip than we planned.  I've been camping/hiking/backpacking in the Cohuttas 5 times and I've encountered 5 bears on 3 different occasions.  Not surprising since this is probably the most rugged and remote country remaining in Georgia.

11:08 a.m. on August 8, 2013 (EDT)
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i ran into some Forest Stewards a few weeks ago (they are hired by the wilderness society and basically work for the forest service) in joyce kilmer a few weeks ago that told me some stories about the beech bottom bear...


apparently, there's a mom and some cubs that have been taking food bags all summer long.........


one of the stewards was eating lunch when the bear came right up to him to get the food....


ive never been there, but the stewards were saying that when they were down in that area, about 50 people were camped down there...


and right there, is the source of the problem....

11:15 a.m. on August 8, 2013 (EDT)
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i did just find this while killing some work...





12:50 p.m. on August 8, 2013 (EDT)
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I can't remember where I found these images, but perhaps they may be of good use in the area...




June 20, 2018
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