Hiking trails reopen at Douthat State Park after bear attack

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MILLBORO (WSLS 10) - Hiking trails are reopening at Douthat State Park after a weekend bear attack.

Trails on the west side of State Route 629 were closed as a precaution. The attack was the first reported bear attack in the 79-year history of Virginia State Parks.

The female bear attacked a woman who was hiking with her adult children near the Tusacora overlook around 6 a.m. on Saturday. She survived the attack that included claw marks on her back and bites to her legs - both of which required stitches.

Douthat State Park Manager, Charles Conner said bear sightings aren't unusual, but this attack was.

Conner explained, "we have folks that encounter bears on a regular basis, whether that be daily, not necessarily, but on a weekly basis we have lots of folks seeing bears. Big thing when you see a bear in the wild this to make sure that you let the bear know that you were there. Make a lot of noise. Don't panic. Stay calm. Stay put at that point, hold your ground let the bear know who you are and that you are human."

Wildlife experts located and killed the bear early Sunday morning. Because of it's erratic behavior, it will be tested for rabies. Conner said park activity has continued as normal.