Hiking Info For The Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Saturday, October 15, 2011
Warning To Tourist And To Hikers And Backpackers About Wildlife
Smoky Mountain Wildlife Should Be Respected
When visiting the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, be sure not to approach any of the wildlife too closely. GSMNP officials prohibit crowding, harassing and feeding wildlife in any part of the park. This they do to preserve a safe environment for the animals as well as a safe vacation for the Smokies tourists.
As a rule of thumb, if your presence in Cades Cove is altering an animals behavior, you are too close to that animal. This is never truer than when viewing the Smoky Mountain Black Bear. The Smokies bears are NOT pets, trained bears or well fed zoo animals. They are wild and only come out of their hiding places when they are hungry. Though park bears may appear cute and cuddly, even friendly at times, they also are capable of acting with aggression with lightning speed. Smoky Mountain black bears are omnivores eating mainly plant material, but they also eat animals and on rare occasions humans. Given the number of visitors to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park bear injuries are rare however bear related injuries do occur every year in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Given that fact and coupled with the recent bear related death in the park, it is wise to enjoy the bears briefly if you see them but watch from a safe distance or from the safety of your car. The woman who was recently killed by a mother bear and cub was found to have pictures to the offending bears in her camera. So again, enjoy the animals in Cades Cove and take comfort that they rarely attack humans, but at the same time respect their wildness and neither crowd nor feed them.