Bears on Pine Mountain

Black bears once ranged over much of North America, including the vast forests that covered nearly ninety percent of Kentucky.  The loss of the American Chestnut, habitat destruction, forest fragmentation and continual human harassment nearly eliminated them from the state by the 1900's.  After years of severely low numbers, the black bear is making a comeback in many parts of Eastern Kentucky.  The large tracts of forest on Pine Mountain have proven to be excellent habitat for bears and sightings on the mountain are on the rise.

Hiking and Camping in Bear Country
Following these tips while hiking and camping in bear country will help us to coexist peacefully with the black bear on Pine Mountain.  Stay alert while in areas that potentially have bears and if you encounter a bear while outdoors:
  • Do not approach a bear
  • Remain calm and avoid sudden movements
  • Give the bear plenty of room
  • If the bear is not aware of you, make a wide detour around it
  • If you are spotted by the bear, try to get its attention by waving your arms, clapping your hands and making enough noise to hopefully deter the bear coming in your direction
  • Never run, a bear can outrun you, outclimb and outswim you.  Instead slowly back away
When camping, lock food in a vehicle or hang it in a tree.  Keep all cooking utensils claean and don't throw any food into the fire pit. Eliminating odors around the campsite will lessen the chance of attracting bears.