A black bear is foraging for mast in the Cherokee Orchard region of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Black Bears are the most popular denizens in the park and a keepsake photo is a tantalizing enticement for many visitors. But it is important to remember that bears are swift wild animals and can be dangerous if they are ill or provoked. Always keep a safe distance from all wildlife! See, enjoy, but please do not approach for your safety and the welfare of the animals.
When most people use the words “wildlife” and “Great Smoky Mountains National Park” in the same sentence, it is natural to think of black bears. After all, the black bear has been an icon in the park since the days of its inception.
But there is more to wildlife in the Great Smoky Mountains than black bears. Nearly every mammal, reptile, and amphibian known in Appalachia lives here. Continue reading →
A black bear climbing a tree in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Many park visitors miss bears because they only look at ground level and do not look up into the treetops.
Bears climb trees for protection and to feed on nuts and fruit. This is especially true in Autumn as the bears fatten up for their long winter naps.
Always keep in mind that black bears are wild animals that can easily outrun an adult human. Never approach a bear in the wild, never provoke a bear in the wild and never ever ever feed a bear in the wild. Feeding bears alters their natural proclivities and could lead to behavior that endangers bear and people alike.
How to Find Black Bears in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
When visitors are asked why they come to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park there are many common answers.
They come for the incomparable mountain views, the over eight hundred miles of hiking trails, the historic structures, the crystal clear streams, rivers and waterfalls and of course the wildlife…
Especially black bears!
Unfortunately many would-be bear spotters have unrealistic expectations when it come to seeing bears in the Smoky Mountains. Although current populations are at historically high numbers, black bears are reclusive and tend to avoid contact with humans. So the odds of actually seeing a bear during a casual visit are not very good. Continue reading →