Archived Outdoors

Grant will support bear-safe camping in the Smokies

Grant will support bear-safe camping in the Smokies

A $4,000 grant from the Appalachian Trail Conservancy will help the Great Smoky Mountains National Park practice proactive bear management in the year ahead. 

Funds will go toward materials to repair food storage cables at shelters and campsites along Smokies’ 71 miles of the Appalachian Trail, and will also support seasonal staff and two wildlife interns who assist with food-storage cable repairs, as well as other bear management and monitoring. 

The grant is funded by ATC’s specialty license plate sales in North Carolina, and Friends of the Smokies has been a regular recipient of funds from the program. Thanks in part to this ATC funding, every backcountry campsite in GSMNP has food storage cables, creating a safer environment for bears and hikers alike.  

Park biologists estimate there are more than 1,500 black bears in the park, equal to a population density of two bears per square mile. Since 2006, more than 60 percent of shelters along the Smokies portion of the A.T. have experienced some form of human-bear conflict annually. 

Leave a comment

Smokey Mountain News Logo
Go to top
Payment Information


At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.