Both the National Park Service in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, as well as the U.S. Forest Service, have recently reported black bear encounters in both the Smokies, Pisgah National Forest, and along the Blue Ridge Parkway. These reports always get The Swag team, as well as our guests, excited with the posibility of seeing bears here at 5,000 feet. Several Swaggers, have already spotted a variety of wildlife here on the mountain with almost weekly sightings of a momma black bear and cubs. Black bear cubs usually come in pairs and at least four have been seen at one time on the driveway. Other wildlife already spotted this season include wild turkey, grouse, a variety of song birds, humming birds, chipmunks and even the illusive bobcat.
Swaggers should be reminded that approaching within 50 yards (150 feet), or any distance that disturbs or displaces bear or elk is prohibited. In addition, feeding, touching, teasing, frightening, or intentionally disturbing wildlife is prohibited anywhere inside Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Outdoor enthusiasts are encouraged to prevent bear interactions by taking the following steps:
- Clean up food or garbage around fire rings, grills or other areas of your campsite.
- Keep food in secure containers and do not leave food unattended.
- If bear-proof containers are not available, store food and garbage inside a hard-top vehicle or trailer.
- Never store food inside of a tent.
- Wipe tabletops clean before vacating a camp or picnic site.
- If a bear is observed nearby, pack up your food and trash immediately and vacate the area ASAP. If you encounter a bear – never run. Back up slowly and make noise so the bear knows you’re there.
Speaking of black bears, don’t forget that coming up later this season, Dr’s. Michael Pelton & Tamra Willis return for another week of “Black Bears & Unhuggables”, October 30th through November 6th. Dr. Pelton is the foremost authority on the North American black bear and his talks and hikes are not to be missed. For more information on this, or any other Swag events, be sure to visit our Special Event Calendar at TheSwag.com.