Category: McAfee Knob/Triple Crown
What should you do when you are on the trail and a bear wants your food? Get a copy of the tips shown below from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries here.
To help yourself and others:
- NEVER leave food in shelters or anywhere else near the trail. This is the cause of current bear problems – it is really a human problem more than a bear problem.
- ALWAYS hang a bear bag or use a bear canister or other bear-proof storage system at night. The bag itself should be at least 12 feet up in the air – so that a bear cannot reach it from the ground – and 6 feet out from the main tree trunk (see photo).
Generally black bears are naturally wary/fearful of people and prefer to avoid contact. However, bears that have been purposely fed or gotten a food reward from people may lose this wariness. These bears may try to “scare” you into leaving your food or pack. They may pop their jaws or swat the ground with their front paws while blowing and snorting, and/or may lunge or bluff charge toward you in an attempt to get you to leave. These bluff charges rarely end in contact and should never be rewarded with food that is left unattended or thrown at the bear. Should you encounter a bear displaying this behavior:
- Do not run from a bear in any situation!
- Remain calm and ready your bear spray (or other deterrent like rocks or sticks).
- Stay together if you are in a group; you will appear larger and more intimidating if you stick together.
- Act aggressively. Look the bear straight in the eyes and let it know you will fight. Shout! Make yourself look as big as possible. Stamp your feet. Threaten the bear with whatever is handy (stick, pole, bear spray). Throw rocks or sticks (never throw anything edible!). The more the bear persists, the more aggressive your response should be.
- If a bear that is behaving in an aggressive/threatening manner is intent on making contact, your first line of defense is always your bear spray. Point the nozzle just above the bear’s head so that the spray falls into the bears eyes, nose and throat. When it is 20 to 30 feet away, give it a long blast. That should be enough to discourage it and send it in the other direction. (Be cautious of wind direction)
- Once the bear has moved away, retreat to a safe location. Take your food/pack with you. Do not run. Stay alert in case the bear returns.
- Notify your local Appalachian Trail contact, Sheriff’s Department or Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries about your encounter.
Appalachian Trail Conservancy Central and Southwest Virginia Regional Office at 540.904.4393
Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries 804.652.7921
ALERT: The campsite and shelter at Lamberts Meadow reopened on July 11,2016 thanks to the installation of steel bear-resistant boxes for overnight food storage. PLEASE PRACTICE LEAVE NO TRACE AND CARRY EVERYTHING OUT. Click here for a 2-minute video on installation of the bear boxes.
Lamberts Meadow Shelter and Campsite have been closed due to problem bear activity that was caused by people leaving food in and around the shelter. A total of 5 to 6 bears have been observed near the shelter looking for food. This is a location that had significant bear activity in 2015. Hikers staying Campbell’s Shelter have also reported recent bear activity, but it remains open.
If necessary, hikers may use a temporary designated campsite that has been established just south of Hay Rock (see map), and marked with a sign. No fires at the temporary site! Lamberts Meadow is the only reliable water source between Campbell Shelter and Tinker Creek near Daleville. Hikers camping near Hay Rock should bring sufficient water. Hay Rock is 5.4 miles north of Lamberts Meadow Shelter, and 4 miles south of US-220 in Daleville.
Hikers must properly secure food at all times on the Appalachian Trail.
Never feed bears!
In an emergency, always call 911. To report problem bear activity, please contact the Appalachian Trail Conservancy Central and Southwest Virginia Regional Office at 540.904.4393
The next Volunteer Ridgerunner Training Day is Saturday March 19, from 9 am-2:30 pm at the Roanoke Regional Fire and Rescue Center, 1220 Kessler Mill Road, Salem, VA. There will also be a Training Day June 11. To sign up join the McAfee Knob Task Force MeetUp group and RSVP, or email Kathryn Herndon at email@example.com. Kathryn will email participants prior to the training with details about the agenda and what to expect.
National Leave No Trace Training open to the public in Roanoke and New River Valleys, September 24-28, 2105
What do McAfee Knob, Saguaro National Monument, Point Reyes National Seashore and Linville Gorge have in common? All are among the twelve national Leave No Trace Hot Spots for 2015. Headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics and its Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers team are partnering with the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club and Appalachian Trail Conservancy to host community events and educational activities September 24-28, 2015.
The Hot Spot Program, a key component of the Leave No Trace in Every Park initiative, raises community awareness and brings solutions to popular natural areas around the country facing heavy recreational use and consequently, the threat of harm to trails, parks and open space areas. The Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers travel throughout the country providing public education about how to reduce impacts in the outdoors.
“The cumulative impact of so many people enjoying a great viewpoint such as McAfee Knob can have negative effects,” according to Stephanie Whatton, Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer. “In most cases, the land impact isn’t due to a malicious intent to harm nature and wildlife. Instead, it’s simply lack of Leave No Trace education and practices.”
The following Leave No Trace events are free and open to the public:
McAfee Knob was already popular, but its starring role in the new film, “A Walk in the Woods,” is bringing an unprecedented number of visitors. You can help keep the AT from being loved to death!
On Saturday, September 26 2015 the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club invites everyone who loves the A.T. around McAfee Knob, Dragon’s Tooth and Tinker Cliffs to pitch in and help keep it beautiful!
Why September 26? It’s National Public Lands Day! But that’s not the only reason.Read more »
We all love McAfee Knob. In fact, visitation has increased by 55% per year in the last four years, causing a noticeable increase in avoidable impacts such as litter, vandalism, negative encounters with wildlife, and damage to vegetation.
Enter RATC’s McAfee Knob Task Force, an all-volunteer group that helps the paid Ridgerunners with outreach, education and cleanup. While they spend a lot of time on the AT, they find that greeting hikers in the Route 311 parking lot often provides the most useful information for hikers, especially Read more »
McAfee Knob Volunteer Ridgerunners help with outreach, maintenance and parking lot patrol – more training scheduled on August 8. To sign up or get information, see the McAfee Knob MeetUp group or contact Kathryn Herndon of ATC staff at firstname.lastname@example.org
McAfee Knob is popular, which is both a blessing and a curse. Every weekend hundreds of day hikers and quite a few backpackers head for the Knob. Two wonderful paid Ridgerunners – Stephanie Breig and Eric West –take turns patrolling the section from Dragon’s Tooth to Lambert’s Meadow on weekends, but they can’t be everywhere.
That is where the volunteers come in. Read more »