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(WBIR) The Great Smoky Mountains National Park announced Thursday its temporarily closing down several trails after hikers experienced some close encounters with bears.

Park officials said Gregory Bald and nearby trails including Gregory Bald Trail and Wolf Ridge Trail from Parson Bald to Gregory Bald will be closed for the time being.

According to the park, at least a dozen bears are concentrated in the Gregory Bald area feeding on ripe cherries. That's created an unacceptable safety risk with several close encounters between hikers and bears.

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Wildlife biologists said they expect the bears to disperse when the cherries are gone.

(Editor's Note: According to the Park, the story photo was taken with a telephoto lens and cropped to make the bear seem closer)

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