September 15 to October 15 is celebrated nationwide as National Hispanic Heritage Month. Great Smoky Mountains Association shares this article by Karen Chávez of Asheville Citizen Times to honor the cultures and contributions of both Hispanic and Latino Americans as they pertain to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
by Karen Chávez, Asheville Citizen Times
Armed only with a paintball gun, and a Park Service badge, Brandon Garcia knew he was all that stood between a black bear, a horde of tourists, and something going terribly hairy.
As a wildlife intern at Great Smoky Mountains National Park, part of Garcia’s job was to assist park volunteers in breaking up “bear jams” in the Cades Cove area, where thousands of people come each day to see the historic buildings, pastoral landscape and to take pictures of bears.
But the humans often stop their cars in the middle of the road, and get dangerously close to the bears.
Garcia was trying to explain to the tourists why they should steer clear of the bear eating his acorns, when he noticed the bear becoming agitated.