WAYNESVILLE, N.C. (AP) -- The Friends of the Smokies and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy are working to help backpackers keep their food out of the reach of bears.
Using conservancy funds, Great Smoky National Park staffers and interns have repaired cables used to hoist food out of bears' reach at the trail shelters at Mollies Ridge and Cosby Knob.
The repairs should help increase safety for both backpackers and bears by reducing the number of bears raiding shelters for food.
Park biologist Bill Stiver said the cables also benefit wildlife because the bears don't learn to depend upon hikers for food.
The friends group and the conservancy have also worked together to renovate many of the backcountry shelters along the trail in the Smokies. They have also contributed to trail maintenance and hiker safety.