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

    Great Smoky Mountains

    National Park NC,TN

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  • Spring Road Status

    During spring, park roads may close due to ice, especially at high elevation where wet roads can freeze as temperatures drop at night. For road status information call (865) 436-1200 ext. 631 or follow updates at http://twitter.com/SmokiesRoadsNPS. More »

Missing from our streams, wetlands, & riparian areas

Dispatches from the Field > Missing species > Missing from streams

 
Flame chub.

Flame chub.

Artwork by Heather R, Robbinsville High School, North Carolina.

Flame chub (Hemitremia flammea)

  • Status: Missing
  • Last seen in park: 1990
  • Species story: This small, orange-tinged fish only existed in one spot in the entire Little Tennessee River watershed: in Cades Cove springs. While this species is also found in the Cumberlands, it seems to have disappeared from the Great Smoky Mountains.
 
Horse sugar.

Horse sugar.

Artwork by Storm J, Robbinsville High School, North Carolina.

Horse sugar (Symplocos tinctoria)

  • Status: Missing
  • Last seen in park: 1940s
  • Species story: Horse sugar, a low bush with sweet-tasting leaves, used to grow in Smoky Mountain wetlands. Wetlands, however, have mostly disappeared over the last 200 years, because people drained them to make dry farmland. Today Inventory and Monitoring teams in the park are mapping areas where wetlands once existed, and may find clues about the missing horse sugar.
 
Spotted skunk.

Spotted skunk.

Artwork by Tyler W, Robbinsville High School, North Carolina.

Eastern spotted skunk (Spilogale putorius)

  • Status: Uncommon, and possibly declining
  • Last seen in park: Probably exists in park today
  • Species story: It is hard to find population density estimates for the Eastern spotted skunk in the Southern Appalachians, in part because this small animal hides out in thick rhododendron patches along mountain streams. A 2000 study of spotted skunks in Cherokee National Forest, adjacent to the park, recommended that scientists keep an eye on this species because it was so seldom seen. Resource managers in the Smokies have sighted fewer of these reclusive animals over the last decade and think they may be declining.
 

Did You Know?

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is America's most visited national park.

Between 8-10 million people visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park each year, making it the most visited national park in the country.