A backcountry camper was found dead in Great Smoky Mountains National Park on Friday, with hikers coming upon a black bear scavenging on what appeared to be the man's remains. The Asheville Citizen-Times reports the hikers were on Hazel Creek Trail and passed an empty tent at campsite 82; they encountered the bear a short time later. They reported the scene after returning to cell service, and rangers reached the area, which sits on the North Carolina side of the park, around midnight. They euthanized the bear, which was "actively scavenging" on the remains, per a release.
The Knoxville News Sentinel reports the man has been identified as Patrick Madura, 43, of Elgin, Illinois. His cause of death has not been established. A portion of the trail and that campsite have been closed. They're found in a part of the park that the Citizen-Times describes as the same "remote backcountry area" where a teen was pulled from his hammock and mauled by a black bear in 2015; the 16-year-old survived. There are some 1,500 black bears across the park's 500,000 acres, though attacks are rare. (Read more Great Smoky Mountains stories.)