The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the largest protected areas in the Eastern United States where black bears can live in natural surroundings. It is not un-common to see a black bear both in the national park as well as in and around the cabins we have to offer. Here are some interesting facts about black bears.
Black bears are the third-smallest of North America’s bears, outsized by the polar bear and the brown/grizzly bear. That said, they’re actually the third-biggest bear in the world after those two. While American black bears typically weigh between 150 and 500 pounds, extra-big males (or “boars”) may tip the scales beyond 800 pounds, especially when fully fattened up in the fall.
In the Great Smokies and elsewhere in the Southern Appalachians, black bears are indeed mostly black-colored. But the species as a whole is very variable when it comes to fur color: “Black” bears may be brown, cinnamon, blonde, even (in a couple of specific Northwestern populations) blueish or whitish.
Black bears are the only bears native to the Great Smoky Mountains. Their bigger cousin the grizzly historically didn’t roam far east of the Great Plains. While black bears suffered significant population reduction and range loss with the Euro-American settlement of North America, they were never completely killed off from the Smokies. Today, more than 1,500 black bears are thought to dwell in the park, estimated to host an impressive density of about two bears per square mile.
Here is a great article in reference to the Top 4 Places to see bears in the Smoky Mountains: https://smokymountainnationalp...
If you see a black bear, you’ll probably be excited. There’s nothing more thrilling than seeing a wild animal in the woods. However, you should be aware of how close you are to it. In the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, it is illegal to be closer than 50 yards to a black bear. Maintain a safe distance from the bear and do not get any closer. Typically, black bears will keep their distance from people and you can enjoy watching them from afar.
If you find yourself near a black bear in the Smoky Mountains, you should change directions and move away from the bear. If the bear notices you and follows you, stand your ground and make loud noises to scare it away. You can even throw non-food items such as rocks near it to scare the bear. Black bears are different from other types of bears, and you should not play dead. You should try to make yourself as large and loud as possible to scare the bear off. Please note that most bears will not get close enough for these instances to happen, and you should maintain a safe distance at all times.
Last, we have noticed the bears in and around the cabin have been more and more active as of late. This is why you will notice most cabins have bear-proof trash bins and both of our cabins are no exception. Please always keep your trash in these bins and do not leave any trash or food outside as bears have a sense of smell that spans over miles. Also bears have been known to open car doors as well, therefore always keep your doors locked and do not leave food inside your car while in the area either.
Check-out this video at Bearolina Girl cabin, when a black bear climbs into a car with open windows, as it was visiting the cabin due to an open food container on the porch!