Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials have closed campsite 82 and a section of the Hazel Creek Trail after rangers discovered the remains of Patrick Madura, 43, of Elgin, Illinois, at the campsite.
Park officials report that rangers had to euthanize a bear after finding it scavenging on the remains.
On Friday afternoon, backpackers found an unoccupied tent at campsite 82. Shortly thereafter, the hikers discovered what appeared to be human remains across the creek with a bear scavenging in the area.
The hikers quickly left to obtain cell coverage and report the incident to the authorities.
Emergency Communication staff received the initial report shortly after 7 p.m. Law enforcement rangers and wildlife officers were immediately dispatched to the scene.
Staff arrived at campsite 82 shortly after midnight and confirmed the report of a deceased adult human male.
After observing a bear actively scavenging on the remains, the rangers euthanized the bear.
The cause of death is unknown, and the case remains under active investigation.
The Hazel Creek Trail will remain closed until further notice between the juncture with Cold Springs Gap Trail and Welch Ridge Trail.
For more information on what to do in case of a bear encounter, visit the park website at www.nps.gov/grsm/naturescience/black-bears.htm. To report a bear incident, call 865-436-1230.