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Discover the Wild Side of Gatlinburg: How to Safely Encounter Bears in the Great Smoky Mountains

Gatlinburg, Tennessee, is a popular tourist destination known for its beautiful scenery, outdoor activities, and wildlife. One of the most fascinating animals you can encounter in Gatlinburg is the bear. With around 1,500 black bears living in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which surrounds Gatlinburg, it's not uncommon to see these powerful creatures wandering around the town.

Bears eating trash at my cabin in Gatlinburg, TN

Black bears are the most common species of bear found in Gatlinburg. They are omnivores, which means they eat both plants and animals, and their diet typically consists of berries, insects, nuts, and occasionally small mammals. Despite their name, black bears can range in color from blonde to cinnamon to black.

For many visitors to Gatlinburg, spotting a bear in the wild is a thrilling experience. However, it's important to remember that bears are wild animals and should be treated with caution and respect. Here are some tips for staying safe around bears in Gatlinburg:

  1. Keep a safe distance: If you see a bear, keep a safe distance of at least 50 yards (150 feet) between you and the animal. This will help prevent the bear from feeling threatened and potentially attacking.

  2. Don't feed the bears: Feeding bears is illegal in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and for good reason. Feeding bears can cause them to lose their natural fear of humans, which can lead to more aggressive behavior.

  3. Secure your food: If you're camping or going for a picnic in the park, make sure to store your food in a bear-resistant container or hang it from a tree at least 10 feet off the ground and 4 feet away from the trunk.

  4. Make noise: If you're hiking in bear country, make noise to alert bears of your presence. Clap your hands, talk loudly, or sing to let bears know you're there.

  5. Stay calm: If you do encounter a bear, stay calm and avoid making direct eye contact. Slowly back away while speaking in a calm voice.

Overall, seeing a bear in Gatlinburg can be a memorable experience, but it's important to remember that these animals are wild and should be respected. By following these tips and being aware of your surroundings, you can safely enjoy the beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains and all the wildlife they have to offer.

Smoky mountains in gatlinburg, tn
Smoky mountains in gatlinburg, tn

bear visits cabin in gatlinburg, tn
bear visits cabin in gatlinburg, tn

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