2019 bear-related projects funded by donations to Friends of the Smokies
Cades Cove Viewshed Mowing | $8,000
As a part of our grassland management and restoration efforts in Cades Cove, fields are kept open by several methods to help provide varied habitats for turkey, coyote, fox, rabbit, deer, bear, ground-nesting birds such as quail. Some fields are mowed after nesting season, while others are burned, plowed, and harvested in the gradual process to restore much of the Cove to native meadow habitat. These funds support our viewshed mowing that both keep the fields open and provide vistas into the grassland communities.
Reduce Backcountry Bear Problems with Food Storage Cable Systems | $8,000
Each backcountry campsite and shelter has a pulley and cable system which campers are required to use to hoist their food and packs out of the reach of bears for the increased safety of both visitors and bears. Each year a number of these systems are damaged through use or by falling trees and must be replaced.
Support Appalachian Bear Rescue (ABR) | $4,000
Each year a number of orphaned or injured Park bears are treated and housed in the nonprofit ABR center in Townsend until they can be released back into the Park. Prior to the creation of ABR, most of these animals were euthanized.
Bear Management Project | $5,200
These funds will enable wildlife biologists to refurbish and pay annual fees for 3 GPS radio collars, collar detachment mechanisms, and battery replacements. These collars will be used when DNA analysis is needed to track bears suspected of a bear attack or other significant human/bear interaction while park staff wait on confirmation of matches between the attack and the suspect bear.
Support for the Volunteer Roadside Assistance Program | $11,500
The Smokies recruits a series of retired law enforcement officers and their spouses to patrol Newfound Gap Road and Cades Cove, providing directions and visitor information, responding to disabled vehicles and lock-outs, and assisting with motor vehicle accidents and bear-related traffic jams. Their presence has substantially freed up the commissioned law enforcement rangers in the park, enabling them to respond more quickly to more serious law enforcement incidents.