Gorge is closed for a third day

Gorge area might be closed for the 4th

dhjalmarson@herald-leader.comJuly 1, 2010 

The Red River Gorge area of the Daniel Boone National Forest remained closed Wednesday after a bear attacked a Springfield man.

Businesses in and near the gorge hoped the U.S. Forest Service would determine that it was safe to open the recreation area before the Fourth of July weekend.

Ken Braden of Red River Adventure, which rents canoes, kayaks and cabins from Ky. 715, which is closed to all traffic, said he had to cancel reservations for about 30 people in the past three days, and walk-in business probably would have doubled that. He figured he's losing a few hundred dollars a day.

"It's one of the big weekends of the year," Braden said, adding that he is the only full-time Red River Gorge resident within 13 miles.

He sees bears now and then, he said, but they mainly "amble off" when people get too close.

"I'm really surprised at the threatening nature of the attack," Braden said.

Hiker Tim Scott, 56, of Springfield, was hiking Sunday afternoon on the Pinch-Em Tight Trail when he encountered a black bear. Scott said he took some pictures of the bear but started backing away as it came toward him. As he turned around, it bit his leg and wouldn't let go until some other hikers came to help.

It was Kentucky's first known black bear attack in modern history, officials said.

State Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources officials have set traps throughout the area and plan to euthanize the bear if they can determine that they've caught it.

U.S. Forest Service officials said the gorge would remain closed until they know the bear is caught or has moved out of the area.

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