Smokies Backpackers And Bears Bring In The New Year Away From Each Other

Friday, December 21, 2012
Food Hoist Cables
Food Hoist Cables

While enjoying a visit to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, backpackers like to keep a respectable distance from black bears. With help from the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) and the Friends of the Smokies, they can continue to do so in some of the most backpacker friendly wilderness hiking in the Southern Appalachians. The ATC has provided $800 from its specialty license plate funds to help reduce black bear access to backpacker food along the Appalachian Trail (A.T.), a national park unit within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP). 

Using the grant funds from the ATC, park staff and volunteers have installed cables that backpackers and trail improvement crews use to store food out of the reach of black bears. Cabling systems were renovated at the Derrick Knob shelter along the A.T. and installed at the new base camp of the Rocky Top Trail crew.  

The improved storage system increases both visitor and bear safety by helping reduce the reasons bears would be attracted to shelter areas in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, according to Bill Stiver, wildlife biologist with GSMNP.  “The cables help protect hikers, campers, and the Rocky Top Trail Crew,” Mr. Stiver said; “Not to mention keeping the bears from learning to depend on human food.”

Friends of the Smokies and the ATC have partnered in many additional ways to decrease the impacts on GSMNP from the heavy amount of use that the A.T. and Park see as well as impacts from overnight sites on wildlife.  Privies have been repaired and all of the backcountry shelters along the A.T. in the Smokies recently renovated.  Additionally, through the Ridgerunner program the two organizations provide a backcountry presence on the A.T. to help ensure a safe and pleasant experience.

“It’s all about working together to protect two great national parks, their visitors and their natural resources,” said Holly Demuth, North Carolina director of Friends of the Smokies. “We do best when we work together.”  


California Artist Launches Tennessee River Expedition

A rustic recreated 1940s shantyboat, a daring river voyage, and a meticulous archive of river stories are all part of a multi-year art and history project, A Secret History of American River People. Santa Cruz artist Wes Modes is fundraising for this year's expedition on the historic Tennessee River.  https://goo.gl/adKGTG. For the last few years, Santa Cruz artist Wes ... (click for more)

“I Have Heard That Yell Before:” Some Of Chickamauga’s Confederate Commanders During Reconstruction

Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park invites the public to attend a 2-hour car caravan tour of Chickamauga Battlefield focusing on the post war activities of several of the battle’s Confederate commanders. This tour begins at the Chickamauga Battlefield Visitor Center at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 14.    Program participants will hear the stories of several ... (click for more)

Mayor Berke Pledges $6 Million For New Recreation Center At Avondale

Mayor Andy Berke announced Thursday that he plans to include $6 million in his upcoming budget for a new Recreation Center at Avondale. He said at a press conference at the current center on Dodson Avenue, "We want to make an investment in Avondale." Mayor Berke said the current center by Wilcox Boulevard was built in 1949 and last remodeled in 2002. The new center, which ... (click for more)

Developer Plans Single-Family Homes, Townhomes, Apartments, Retail On 7.5 Acres At South Broad Street

A developer is planning single-family homes, apartments, townhomes and retail on a 7.5-acre South Broad Street site. The development by South Broad LLC and DEW LLC is located within several blocks between South Broad Street, W. 26th Street, Long Street and W. 27th Street. It would include a 3-story U-shaped apartment building with ground floor retail at the north end of the ... (click for more)

Thankful For The Vital Role Teachers Played In My Life

Re: Roy Exum: Teachers Day Tomorrow Roy, I am especially appreciative of your poignant column written in tribute to teachers.  It made me tear up, as I have encountered both as a student and a career educator-- teachers like the second-grade teacher who said, "I wish you were my little girl" and teachers like Mrs. Poindexter.   My teachers have played such a vital ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Bad Ideas Never Work

When the Chattanooga City Council gave Kevin Muhammad, who is purportedly the “leader” of the Nation of Islam’s “Chattanooga chapter” or whatever it is, “the right” to speak for 20 anguished minutes on Monday night, everybody who heard about it could have told our city leaders it was “stinkin’ thinkin’.” My goodness, did you think he was going to read a sweet passage from the ... (click for more)