Bears Close Florida National Forest

posted by Alan McBride - 

Federal wildlife officials say that a temporary emergency closure order is in effect for Juniper Prairie Wilderness on the Ocala National Forest through March 8.

The notice was issued earlier this week and took effect immediately.

Officials say the entrance to the wilderness will be closed to all visitors. 

Authorities said the closure was due to increased bear activity, and the notice was issued for the protection of public safety and health.

The closure order runs the boundary of the wilderness and includes all roads and trails within the area defined on the boundary map, according to wildlife authorities.

People with specific permits to be in the area for clearly defined reasons, along with law officers or members of an organized rescue or firefighting force in the performance of their official duty are exempt from the closure.

Officials say the wilderness will reopen when Forest Service officials determine it is safe for visitors to enter the closure area.

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