Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Friends Of The Smokies Team Up To Hang Bear Wires In Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy and Friends of the Smokes have worked with Great Smoky Mountains National Park crews to install cables for backpackers to hang their gear from. Friends of the Smokies photo.

A joint effort by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and Friends of the Smokies has made it a wee bit safer for backcountry travelers in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The ATC dipped into its speciality license plate fund for $800 that went towards installing cables for backpackers to hang their packs and food from, safely out of reach of the park's black bears.

Cabling systems were renovated at the Derrick Knob shelter along the A.T. in the park, and installed at the new base camp of the Rocky Top Trail crew.

“The cables give visitors an effective method to store and secure food so that bears and other wildlife do not have access to human food," said Bill Stiver, the park's wildlife biologist.

By using the cables, backpackers are helping ensure that wildlife are not unnaturally attracted inside the shelters. Keeping human food away from bears is one of the important steps you can take to keep bears and yourself safe.

Friends of the Smokies and the ATC have partnered in many additional ways to decrease the impacts on the Smokies from the heavy amount of use that the A.T. and park see, as well as impacts from overnight sites on wildlife. Privies have been repaired and all of the backcountry shelters along the A.T. in the Smokies were recently renovated. Additionally, through the Ridgerunner program the two organizations provide a backcountry presence on the A.T. to help ensure a safe and pleasant experience.

“It’s all about working together to protect two great national parks, their visitors and their natural resources,” said Holly Demuth, North Carolina director of Friends of the Smokies. “We do best when we work together.”

Comments

It's great when volunteer efforts get things done in the Smokies backcountry. As a matter of fact, that shelter in the background was completed by volunteer effort and money. Add the trails that were maintained and patrolled by volunteer efforts and the Smokies National Park has virtually zero dollars of investment in the backcountry. But we will be the first to pay for the privilege of using the backcountry under Dale Ditmanson's backcountry fee proposal next year. Thanks for your efforts, now pay me.