Smoky Mountain Black Bear Euthanized. We are sad to report Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials have closed campsite 82 and a section of Hazel Creek Trail after rangers discovered the remains of an out-of-state adult male at the campsite. On the afternoon of September 11, 2020 backpackers found an unoccupied tent at campsite #82. The hikers then discovered what appeared to be human remains across the creek with a bear scavenging in the area. The hikers left the area to obtain cell coverage and report the incident to authorities.
Emergency Communication staff received the initial report shortly after 7:00 p.m. Law enforcement rangers and wildlife officers were dispatched to the scene. Park staff arrived at campsite #82 shortly after midnight and confirmed the report of a deceased adult human male. After observing a bear actively scavenging on the remains, the rangers euthanized the bear. Rangers are currently working to notify the next of kin. The cause of death is unknown, and the case remains under active investigation.
The Hazel Creek Trail will remain closed until further notice between the juncture with Cold Springs Gap Trail and Welch Ridge Trail.
Source material: GSMNP