Finding Black Bears at BSF

tn.phpONEIDA, Tenn. — From bald eagles to majestic bull elk, there is more magnificent wildlife to be found across the northern Cumberland Plateau than you can shake a stick at. They’re all worth watching — from an eagle feasting on fish at a stream’s edge in the winter to the sound of an elk’s bugle on a crisp October morning. But one type of wildlife that has visitors to our neck of the woods especially excited is the black bear.

Black bears are found throughout the northern Cumberland Plateau region, but they’re especially prolific in the Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area. To put the Big South Fork’s bear population into perspective, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is known for its bears, where an estimated 1,500 of the critters roam 521,000 acres. That’s a population density of one bear per every 347 acres. In the Big South Fork, it is estimated that 300 black bears roam 125,000 acres — or one bear per every 416 acres.

The main difference between the black bears in the Smokies and the black bears in BSF is that the black bears here on the Cumberland Plateau have not yet accustomed themselves to free handouts from people — and we want to keep it that way!

“You’ll be happy to know that we have nice bears in the Big South Fork,” says Shane Kinsey, the park’s bear biologist. (Read More)

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