• Approximately 1,500 black bears live in the national park.

    Great Smoky Mountains

    National Park NC,TN

There are park alerts in effect.
hide Alerts »
  • Trail Advisory

    Several trails in the park are temporarily closed. Please check the "Backcountry Facilities" section of the Temporary Road and Facilities Closures page for further details. More »

In Summer (June-September)

Rows of planted Little Bluestem in Cades Cove.

Rows of planted Little Bluestem, a native grass once common in Cades Cove.

NPS photo.

Exotic plant, insect, and animal control. There is a lot of work to be done to control invasive plants and to stop rooting hogs and savagely biting fire ants. In the summer, while the blades soak up sun in the long days, Steven and his crew eradicate fescue, privet, multiflora rose, non-native species of Lespedeza, and many other plants. They also keep an eye out for signs of introduced hogs, which root out native plants, and for the huge fire ant mounts whose occupants pose a safety risk to people and ground nesting animals.

Return to NPS Profile: Restoring Native Grassland Communities in Cades Cove or see what vegetation managers do in Fall, Winter, and Spring.

Did You Know?

Visitors can often spot bears in trees at the edges of forests.

Approximately 1,500 black bears live in the park. This equals a population density of approximately two bears per square mile. Bears can be found throughout the park, but are easiest to spot in open areas such as Cades Cove and Cataloochee Valley. More...