Tag: Elk

  1. Echoes in the Mountains: The Next Generation

    Echoes in the Mountains: The Next Generation Images by Phoebe Carnes The early morning mist had just dissipated as the sun began to rise over the mountains. The Oconaluftee River was clear and cold, rejuvenated from a light shower the previous night. A cow watched me warily from the forest, ears up and nostrils twitching as she deciphered my scent. A fuzzy copper head peaked out from Read more...
  2. Echoes in the Mountains: A herd in sacred waters

    Echoes in the Mountains: A herd in sacred waters Images by Phoebe Carnes Before I began observing elk in Smokies, I never thought of them as water-loving creatures. But it wasn’t long before I learned that the elk here have a profound relationship with the Oconaluftee River that is as fascinating as it is multifaceted. Bull B takes a drink on a misty September morning in Read more...
  3. Echoes in the Mountains: On Bulls and Close Encounters

    Echoes in the Mountains: On Bulls and Close Encounters Images by Phoebe Carnes When I first started studying the bull elk of Oconaluftee last fall, I quickly learned that each male is an individual. They each have their own quirks that make them easily recognizable. One of the first males I began to study was a bull who goes by the name of “B” within the park service. At nearly 14 Read more...
  4. Trailside Talk: Elk Ignore Park Signs

    Trailside Talk: Elk Ignore Park Signs Photos courtesy of Joye Ardyn Durhum The elk population in the Smokies has been one of the park’s key attractions for two decades. In the early days of this grand experiment that has worked so well, elk headquarters was in Cataloochee. I made the 45-minute drive into the valley several times to see them. And, sometimes, to hear them, Read more...
  5. Echoes in the Mountains: Facts and Curiosities of Elk Biology

    Echoes in the Mountains: Facts and Curiosities of Elk Biology Images by Phoebe Carnes The elk found in the Great Smoky Mountains today are Manitoban elk, or Cervus canadensis manitobensis—a subspecies of elk found in southern Canada, the Midwest, and some parts of the eastern US. Manitoban elk are larger in mass (weighing 500–1,000 pounds), though they possess smaller antlers, an adaptation Read more...
  6. Don’t Miss the Beauty for Your Expectations

    Don’t Miss the Beauty for Your Expectations Have you ever noticed that expectations can potentially put a damper on a perfectly good day? That was the thought bumping around my brain after driving into Cataloochee Valley, one of the more remote sections of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Between friends and online searches, it sounded as if it was best to be there at dawn to see Read more...
  7. Trailside Talk: Look! A Salamander!

    Trailside Talk: Look! A Salamander! Many of the millions of visitors who cross into Great Smoky Mountains National Park every year arrive with anticipation of seeing wild animals. And when they see them, folks sometimes get so excited they can’t fully control their enthusiasm—especially when the animals are bears. Camera phones are whipped out of pockets. Children& Read more...
  8. Put safety first as the park’s elk herd enters its 20th rut season

    Put safety first as the park’s elk herd enters its 20th rut season It’s that time of year again. The elk are rutting in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. From September to early November, the fall breeding season, hormones kick in, and elk go into overdrive. Bulls’ antlers reach maturity, and their ethereal bugling calls can be heard resounding through fields and forests within the park and Read more...
  9. Wildlife Biologist Helps Elk Return to Appalachia

    Wildlife Biologist Helps Elk Return to Appalachia By Aaron Searcy, Publications Associate In the not-so-distant past, red wolves and bison roamed the Great Smoky Mountains, passenger pigeons flew en masse overhead, and Carolina parakeets chattered in the welcoming branches of American chestnut trees. Today, every one of those species has disappeared from the Southern Appalachian landscape & Read more...
  10. National Park Week: Transformation Tuesday

    National Park Week: Transformation Tuesday By Sarah Shiver When you think about the transformations Great Smoky Mountains National Park has undergone, what comes to mind? Chances are you imagine the park’s creation—how it has changed from an area once populated by various communities to a swath of protected land that has largely been reclaimed by nature. But the park’ Read more...

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