Back the B.E.A.R.S. Art Contest

black bear in tree
Black Bear in oak tree

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News Release Date: March 12, 2015

Contact: Sharon Griffin, (606) 248-2817

Contact: Brittony Beason, (606) 248-2817

Young and inspiring artists are WANTED at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park! An April 24th and 25th, 2015 "Back the B.E.A.R.S. –Be Educated and Responsible Stewards" event will bring the world of the American black bear to life and young and inspiring artists can enter artwork into the event art competition.All entries will be on exhibit during the "Back the B.E.A.R.S." event being held on the grounds of the national park's visitor center.

Historically, the American black bear population in the tri-state area of Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia was essentially eliminated by the early 1900s due to logging of mature forests, unregulated hunting and lack of protected habitat.It is only within the past 15 years that black bear have returned to the area due to large remote tracts of land being protected and as forests have matured.

Ranger Brittony Beason explains, "Now that people and black bear are sharing the mountain landscape of this amazing region, we must learn to be educated and responsible stewards."The perfect quote that sums up the spirit of this art contest and bear event is one by Wayne Lynch –"Bears keep me humble. They help me to keep the world in perspective and to understand where I fit on the spectrum of life. We need to preserve the wilderness and its monarchs for ourselves, and for the dreams of children. We should fight for these things as if our life depended on it, because it does."

Rangers encourage all "artists" between the ages of 5 and 17 to enter artwork and then join in the fun during
the "Back the B.E.A.R.S." festivity.Three different age categories will be judged: 5-9, 10-13, and 14-17, with 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners in each.Every entrant will receive a participant ribbon.Art work can be mailed to Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, 91 Bartlett Park Road, Middlesboro, KY. 40965 Attn: Sharon Griffin or hand delivered to the park visitor center located ¼ mile south of Middlesboro, Kentucky on Hwy 25E.The deadline to enter is March 28th, 2015.

"Back the B.E.A.R.S" art contest requirements:

·Black bear artwork should be in pencil, crayon, paint, charcoal, water color, etc. and signed by the artist

·Must be on an 8 ½"x 11" sized sheet of paper

·Artwork entry should be in a manila envelope and include an information card with:Name, Age, Address and Phone Number of Artist/Contact

·Have to be within age groups (5-9, 10-13, 14-17).

·Deadline to turn in the project: 4:00 P.M. on March 28th, 2015.

This event is funded by The Friends of Cumberland Gap National Historical Park through an Impact Grant from the National Park Foundation.Part of the funds from this grant will be used to purchase and install bear proof garbage containers in local communities adjacent to the park.

For information on this free program and other park programs, please call (606) 248-2817, extension 1075 or visit This program is also be sponsored by park partner Eastern National.For more information on the Friends of Cumberland Gap National Historical Park and how to become involved, please visit or find them on Facebook at Learn how Eastern National supports the educational mission of the National Park Service by visiting Connect with the The National Park Foundation at

Last updated: April 14, 2015

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

91 Bartlett Park Road
Middlesboro, KY 40965


(606) 248-2817

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