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Smokies investigates racially charged vandalism on Foothills Parkway

Racially charged vandalism in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has prompted an investigation searching for those responsible. 

At 7:45 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 19, visitors reported seeking a black bear skin with its head and a cardboard sign attached to the Foothills Parkway West entrance sign near the U.S. 321 intersection in Walland, Tennessee. 

The sign displayed with the bear skin read “from here to the lake black lives don’t matter.”

“We encourage anyone with information to reach out to us as we continue to investigate possible motives for this incident,” said Smokies Chief Ranger Lisa Hendy. “We take vandalism incidents seriously in the park, and this particular incident is particularly egregious. It is for this reason we are offering a reward for information.”

The investigation is ongoing, and investigators are looking for any information that could lead them to the perpetrator. Respondents may remain anonymous, but investigators are offering up to $5,000 for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of those responsible. 

To submit a tip, call or text 888.653.0009, visit www.nps.gov/isb, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or send a message on social media to @investigativeservicesnps on Facebook or @specialagentnps on Twitter.

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