One of East Tennessee’s and here in the Smokies great attractions is the chance to see a black bear in the wild. People come from near and far with the hope of seeing one of these bears and other wildlife as this area holds the greatest bear population in the entire state.
Mother & Cub
On top of that viewing them in the wild is free as The Great Smoky Mountain National Park has no admission fees. That’s right; you can drive through Cades Cove, the Roaring Fork, all over the park and only have to pay for your fuel. Sadly foolish, uneducated, and uncaring tourists are ruining the chance for you and your family to observe these bears.
A recent report by Knoxville WBIR TV News brought to light that poor behavior by certain tourists is harming these bears leading to their removal or even causing the need for certain bears to be killed. They reported how tourists fed a female black bear and her three cubs in Cades Cove causing them to become “Nuisance Bears”. This forced the park service to capture and relocate the mother bear and her cubs 40 miles from the area. The article goes on to tell of a bear having to be euthanized in 2010 because of it approaching hikers in the Laurel Falls area wanting food.
Full WBIR News Article
The WBIR article also reported on the story in Country Magazine where the lady bragged about approaching an angry mother bear and her cubs in Cades Cove to get that “photographic treasure”. Thankfully enough public backlash caused the magazine to retract the story.
Cub in tree eating berries
The law states you must stay back 50 yards and may not disturb or displace these animals. Visitors can be arrested and fined for violating this law. Bring a zoom lens and stay back. Don’t feed the bears! Keep your distance, stay safe and keep them safe.
Black Bear Safety Tips
Bull Elk in the Smokies are in “Rut” (male courtship), considered to be one of the great spectacles in North American animal kingdom. The competition between mature male elks is to try to impress and control groups of female elk.
Though the competition is mostly show as the elk prance, grunt and bugle, things can become combative as the bull elk spar. Bugling and sparing are two of the most recognized parts of the rut.
The bugling of the bull is when they through back their heads and utter a long, loud call that can be heard up to a mile away. The larger bulls are able to assert their dominance as they usually have deeper and louder calls.
The spar is when two bulls lock their massive antlers in a test of strength, pushing and shoving until one retreats into submission. The spar can cause punctures and bruises to the elks. Some times fatal injuries do occur, part of natures way of controlling the eco system.
Two Bull Elk Sparing
Two of the best places to witness the “rut” is the Cataloochee Valley and near the Oconaluftee Vistor’s Center outside of Cherokee, NC, the closet location to The Resort. If you decide to view the “Rut” please enjoy from afar as these are wild animals.
Officials with “The Passion Play in the Smokies” announced they are bringing the play to the Smoky Mountain Christian Village in Pigeon Forge. The outdoor drama had been held for many years in nearby Townsend, TN. The Christian Village is off of Goldrush Road across from the entrances to Dollywood and Splash Country.
The drama tells the Biblical story of the life of Jesus. The show features an array of sets, colorful costumes, with dramatic sound and lighting to tell the story of Christ. “The Passion Play in the Smokies” holds the distinction of being one of only eight religious dramas in the country known to be held outdoors according to the UNC Institute of Outdoor Drama.
The play’s show dates are scheduled Sept. 23-25, and 30, and Oct. 1-2 and 7-9. The show starts at 7:30 each evening with the pre-show at 6:30 featuring Christian artist Eye2Sky.
For tickets call 865-640-8903 or visit their web site at www.passionplayinthesmokies.org.
Dollywood announced this week it will begin construction on a new attraction for 2010, Adventure Mountain. Originally scheduled to open this year the project was delayed due to a road construction project and the poor economy.
The new attraction, to be located on a hill above the Tennessee Tornado rollercoaster, will cover 2 acres. The attraction will offer visitors some of the challenges of the outdoors with three different courses rated from easy to expert to test the skill and strength levels of participants.