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

    Great Smoky Mountains

    National Park NC,TN

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    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 »

Partner Projects: Fall, 2009

Issue 5 > Resource Roundup > Partner Projects
Chasing monarchs.

A school groups helps to chase down untagged monarchs in Cades Cove.

NPS photo.

Winging it

In September and October, the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont invited school kids and the public into the field to tag monarch butterflies. Tagging involves putting a small sticker near the base of a wing, so not too much weight is added to the monarch's body. Monarchs make a long migration down to winter grounds in Mexico, and fly over the Smokies on their 2,000 mile journey.

Prior to beginning this study, said tagger Wanda DeWaard, no one was sure how many monarchs flapped over the Smokies or if monarchs spotted here ever made it to their final stop. Now, butterflies tagged here have been found in Mexico, confirming that the monarchs that fly through here do indeed winter with the rest.

Return to Resource Roundup: Fall, 2009.

Did You Know?

An experimental program to reintroduce elk to the park was begun in 2001.

An experimental program to reintroduce elk to the park was begun in 2001. Elk once roamed the Smokies, but were eliminated from the region in the mid 1800s by over-hunting and loss of habitat. Other animals successfully reintroduced to the park include river otters and barn owls. More...