Bearly Believable
Lifestyle

Bearly Believable

How people are destroying the habitats of the Great Smoky Mountains natives.

17
Bearly Believable
visitmysmokies.com

For every family contemplating the opportunities that foreign lands and undiscovered territories have to offer, there are key deal breakers: money and danger. Like any new experience, people have their doubts and concerns, but sometimes, their own fears are self-afflicted. While vacationing in the Smoky Mountains, I came to the realization of exactly how oblivious people are to the disasters around them that are self-created by human beings. As a visitor, I envisioned woods covered with wildlife and hundreds of natural trails that guided tourists through the beauty of the Smoky Mountains. The beauty of this remarkable landscape was no disappointment, but one unexpected twist changed my view point on the growth of our modernized society.

Andrew's Bald - 1.8 mile hike

Through my hiking experiences throughout the Great Smoky Mountains and areas of the Cherokee Indian Reservation in North Carolina, I found myself questioning people's morals and concepts of thinking. In a city populated by visitors and vacationers from different states all across the country, Gatlinburg, Tennessee, it would be thought that people's main attraction would be the Great Smoky Mountains whose terrain brings some of the most beautiful scenaries to life. Instead of seeing families camping and enjoying the beautiful view of the country, I found that families are kept up in resorts and waterparks that are set dead center in torn down sections of the once booming forests. Hiking trails are plagued with signs stating: "Beware of Bears" and "Please do not feed the animals." Watching a young girl climb the trails with her mother, I noticed a small tug on her mother's pant leg as the girl asked about the dangers of the mountains. The mother responded how any mother would, however, with a sense of doubt in the tone of her voice. People are oblivious to the true damage they cause. These signs serve as more of rule for the bears protection rather than as a precaution.

People are 46 times more likely to be murdered by another human being than to be killed by a black bear, and, with the diminishing forests that are reduced by the pollution and destruction by human beings, the possibilities are even less likely. The 750,000 black bears in North America kill less than one person per year on average, while one out of every 16,000 commit a murder each year.

Great Smoky Mountains Nation Park is one of the largest protected areas in the eastern United States where black bears can live in the wild in their natural surroundings. Although this is one of the most highly protected areas in the United States, only 1,500 bears live within the park's inhabitance. This is roughly two bears per square mile. These bears can live 12 to 15 years, or longer, however, bears who have been exposed to or receive access to human foods and garbage have a life expectancy that is only half.

Although some may perceive black bears as being avid hunters, these bears are mainly omnivores, consuming berries, nuts, and plants which make up 85 percent of their diet. Changes in animal behavior and eating patterns are rather caused by outside sources than by the bears 'instinctive' decisions.

Feeding and allowing bears access to human foods causes a number of issues:

1. Changes the bears behavior

- Loss of their instinctive fear of humans

- Approaching humans; unpredictable and dangerous

2. Damage property and injure people

- Risk to public safety

- Teach and promote dangerous behavior of other bears

3. Increase number of deaths

- Health issues

- Hit by cars

- Easy poaching targets


The Great Smoky Mountains National Park may be protected by the state of Tennessee, but there are many other vacation spots and tourist attractions who do not take the natural resources of these magnificent mountains into consideration. Next time you choose your vacation spot, keep in mind exactly what aspect of the spectrum you are supporting. Is living in a fancy hotel really worth destroying one of the most magnificent wonders of the world? People see these monuments as a piece of their memories to share with their families for generations to come, but what if one day there is nothing left besides a few thousand houses on a mountainous hillside? Be a part of the generation that makes a difference!

Want to learn more about the Great Smoky Mountains and about the amazing opportunities available? Visit the National Park Service Website and donate to help protect the wildlife and promote the public's education research program!

https://www.nps.gov/grsm/index.htm

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Swoon

119 People Reveal How The Pandemic Has Affected Their Love Lives, And Honestly... Relatable

"I haven't been able to get out of the 'talking phase' with anyone."

The reality is, there's no part of life the pandemic hasn't affected. Whether it's your work life, your home life, your social life, or your love life, coronavirus (COVID-19) is wreaking havoc on just about everything — not to mention people's health.

When it comes to romance, in particular, people are all handling things differently and there's no "right way" of making it through, regardless of your relationship status (single, taken, married, divorced, you name it). So, some of Swoon's creators sought out to hear from various individuals on how exactly their love lives have been affected since quarantine began.

Keep Reading... Show less

Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B just dropped the hottest summer single yet. It's called "WAP" and we're going to get into all the intoxicating lyrics.

This song empowers females and their sexuality. These women put the ridiculous music industry female beef to bed, and I mean tucked away in a coma.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

How To Write Down The Holy Grail Recipe Everyone Begs You To Make

Because everyone has a signature cocktail, cake, or pasta they bring to every potluck.

NBC

From back when I used to bring my mom's classic white chocolate chip cookies to preschool on my birthday to now stirring up my signature tequila cocktails at every friends' barbecue, I've always had a couple of standby recipes in my culinary rotation.

Keep Reading... Show less
Adulting

Meet My Cat: Cheshire, The Stray Turned House Cat Who Lives in Michigan

I never considered myself a cat person, but Chess immediately stole my heart.

Madelyn Darbonne

In 2016, a stray cat gave birth to a litter of three grey kittens on my aunt and uncle's property. I had never considered myself to be much of a cat person, but these furballs immediately stole my heart. I got to watch them grow up until they were old enough to leave their mother's side.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

How To Binge-Watch A TV Show —And Then Write A Review About It

Writing your favorite and least favorite things about a show could not be more fun.

Photo by Mollie Sivaram on Unsplash

Looking for a new show to binge? Stop scrolling through your options and listen.

Sometimes a good show doesn't come down to the genre or the actors involved, it comes down to the fact that it is simply a GOOD show. If any of these things sound appealing to you, you should definitely watch.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

11 Reasons Why Getting A Cat Is The Best Thing You Can Do For Your Mental Health

Cats may mess up your puzzles but they'll always love you unconditionally — as long as you have some catnip, that is.

Scout Guarino

Alright, everyone, it's time to stop spreading the rumor that all cats are mean, aloof, and hate everyone. Like dogs, each cat has its own personality and tendencies. Some like a lot of attention, some like less — each person has to find the right cat for them. As for me, my cats Bienfu and Reptar have seen me at my worst, but they've also helped pull me out of it. They're a constant in my life and they give me the strength to get through the day in spite of my depression, and there's even scientific evidence to support it!

Keep Reading... Show less

I've been bleaching my hair since I was in seventh grade. Yes, you read that correctly, seventh grade. That's nearly 10 years of maintaining a very light shade of blonde that too-often brings about dryness and brittle strands.

Keep Reading... Show less

Chances are if you're here, you're probably interested in writing an open letter. Yay! We're excited to have you.

Of course, not all open letters are created equal. In fact, there's a recipe to writing one for Odyssey that'll get featured on one of our many verticals. When it comes to Swoon specifically (for those new around here, that's our dating and relationships vertical), we receive dozens of open letters each month, many of which are all very similar.

Keep Reading... Show less

With a new phone comes great responsibility: Do not break it! And the best way to do that is with a case. However, picking a case can be a challenge. No need to fret, I am here to help break down some of the best cases for the new iPhone SE 2020. Honestly, I think it's going to be impossible to choose!

Keep Reading... Show less

To some who have been out of the dating world for a while, it can be hard to get back into the swing of things after being single for some time. So, I asked 26 people what they think is important to know before looking for love again, here's what they had to say.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments