ASHEVILLE, N.C. – A bear attack along the Blue Ridge Parkway has prompted officials to close trails in the area and ban outdoor food.
National Park Service says a couple was having a picnic on a grassy hill near the parking area of the Folk Art Center, accompanied by their dog.
The dog, who was unleashed, alerted the couple there was a bear nearby. The dog then ran towards the bear while barking loudly before the bear defensively attacked both the couple and the dog.
The couple, along with their dog, were able to escape to the safety of their car. They were able to drive themselves to a North Carolina hospital where they were both treated for their injuries and released.
This incident has caused multiple closures and restrictions along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Some trails, including a portion of the Mountains to Sea Trail, the Folk Art Center Nature Loop Trail and all trails accessed off of Bull Mountain Road, are closed for the time being.
Picnicking is now prohibited between the Asheville Visitor Center and adjacent parking areas near parkway milepost 384 to the Haw Creek Overlook near milepost 380.
Officials said this was done because fall is a critical feeding period for bears with winter hibernation around the corner.
For bear safety tips, click here.