Rich Mountain Road in the Cades Cove area was forced to close after a close encounter between a visitor and a bear on Saturday, August 5th. According to officials with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the visitor did receive some minor scratches in the incident. The park said the closure will continue until further notice to give the bears in the area on opportunity to eat and forage undisturbed. This is the time of year, park rangers say, when bears are searching for food, and they’re urging park visitors to never intentionally approach, feed, or leave food out for a bear, to ensure your safety and the future of black bears. Also, do not stop along roadways in the vicinity of bears and always remain 50 yards away (150 feet) or more.