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I’m going to be doing my best to be proactive in helping the current situation with bears and people in the Smokies. I hope that if you live in the area, spend time in the Smokies or plan on visiting the area that you’ll also do your part. In 2016 my bear cubs photograph went completely viral and ended up on televisions all over the country, it was shared thousands and thousands of times and was broadcast on the weather channel and more. It was a photo from springtime but someone else had taken it and shared it saying that they were cubs trying to escape the fires. Folks were heartbroken and devastated at the thought of the cubs dying in the fire. (The photo was from a night that spring when I had stopped traffic because the cubs were messing in trash left at a trailhead and they were separated from their mom due to cars flying down Laurel Creek Road after sunset in Cades Cove. 🤦🏼‍♀️😔 They were finally able to cross and ran off into the woods.) But right now - bears are dying, yet too many just turn their eyes away from the issues. Where’s the viral heartbreak now? The call to action to coexist in a way that isn’t harmful to either side? 4 bears are currently scheduled to be euthanized in just the Gatlinburg area. They’re not dying because of their behavior, they’re dying because of their response to human behavior. Property is being destroyed, safety issues are popping up and the problem is growing... But it doesn’t have to. We can reverse it. We can part of the problem or we can be part of the solution... I’m choosing to be a part of the solution. 💙 Step 1: Sharing this article and link.
Every year millions of visitors to the @greatsmokynps roll up and down Newfound Gap Road. Yet most fail to take time to learn that the road was recognized in 1872 by Guyot to be the lowest and most accessible pass over the mountain when traveling between Tennessee and North Carolina. In previous years, Indian Gap Road that lies two miles west was used by farmers, traders and confederate soldiers. The Indian Gap Road, that at one point was a toll road, was named after the Cherokee Trail that ran parallel to the road and was used by the native Americans when hunting. If you’ve ever hiked the Road Prong Trail then you have walked along the shadows of many days in history that were spent by those traveling on Indian Gap. Including a man that had to drag his canon along it... ( And you thought your hike was hard... )There was also once a Little Indian Gap Shelter in the area, a little fact that lovers of @appalachiantrail might find interesting. That’s not all of the history that lies along Newfound Gap Road though. Take a bit of time to wander the quiet walkways in the Sugarlands Valley... An area that was once home to the Indian Gap Hotel, Andy Brackins farm, Riley Brackin’s cabin, and more. Before your next visit to the Smokies, take a bit of time to learn the never-ending history of the park and even just a simple drive up Newfound Gap Road will become more interesting and possibly even a trip back into yesteryear. 💚 (These are also a few great reasons for folks to not throw their trash out... The Smokies are a sacred place, a historical place, a national park... Not a landfill.)