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

    Great Smoky Mountains

    National Park NC,TN

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  • 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 »

Wildlife: June-July, 2009

Issue 4 > Resource Roundup > Wildlife

Tomatoes grow big and red if elk don't eat them.

USDA photo.

“Critter Gitters”

Elk are notorious nibblers of veggies and flowers. In response to elk devouring the planted garden at the Mountain Farm Museum, rangers at Oconoluftee Visitor Center and wildlife managers agreed to set a motion-activated alarm from 7:30 at night to 7:00 each morning. Visitors should be aware of the alarm, because they could set it off if they walk in the alarmed areas at night (or if they try to munch on some fresh tomatoes in the garden).

Return to Resource Roundup: June-July, 2009.

Did You Know?

Flame azalea can be found growing on heath balds in the park.

The park’s high elevation heath balds are treeless expanses where dense thickets of shrubs such as mountain laurel, rhododendron, and sand myrtle grow. Known as “laurel slicks” and “hells” by early settlers, heath balds were most likely created by forest fires long ago. More...