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One particular black bear from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park made national news after its stroll along the Gatlinburg Parkway was caught on video tape. Since seeing the video play out on major news outlets such as The Today Show, we, at Visit My Smokies, decided to put together a few bear safety tips to help visitors during their next Smoky Mountain vacation.
Respect Their Habitat
Bears can be found in their natural habitat in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. For the most part, bears will remain calm until people interfere with their home or personal space. To keep the bears healthy and unharmed, make sure your family always disposes of garbage after a picnic or snack in the mountains. This is one way to help keep the bears in the national park, so they will be less likely to make their way to the Gatlinburg Parkway where they can be injured.
Visitors should watch for warning signs of aggression. If the bear is making loud noises or running toward you, your first thought may be to run away. In this situation, it is best to stand your ground or back away from the bear very slowly. As you slowly step away, the bear will recognize that you are trying to distance yourself and will begin stepping away from you, too.
If a bear follows you without showing signs of aggression, the best thing to do is change your direction. Bears appreciate large amounts of personal space. If you feel as though you are too close, you should probably move yourself to higher ground and separate yourself from any loose food items that the bear may be following.
Bears can be exciting animals to watch, but they can also be unpredictable, so make sure you follow all of the safety tips when you spot bears in the Smokies. Remember to respect the natural habitat of the bears in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park by keeping at a safe distance at all times.
For more information about black bears and the Great Smoky Mountains, take a look at Visit My Smokies’ national park information page. While on the website, you can also find all of the things you need for planning a vacation to Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge.