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Monday, April 15, 2019

Increased animal deaths in the Pigeon River Gorge
Vehicles collide with large mammals as many as 2 million times each year in the United States, resulting in roughly $12 billion in costs plus loss of life. This global issue has reached a regional tipping point throughout East Tennessee and Western North Carolina. Vehicles killed at least 35 bears in the Pigeon River Gorge of Interstate 40 in the last 10 months. Due to increasing populations—both animal and human—as well as growing tourism in the area, it is anticipated that deaths will rise. In an attempt to address the issue, Great Smoky Mountains Association will host Jeff Hunter, senior program manager for the National Parks Conservation Association, who will present and lead a panel discussion on the issue later this month. The event will take place at The Strand at 38 North Main Street in Waynesville, N.C., on Saturday, April 20, at 10 a.m. This free public discussion is open to the first 75 registered individuals. When vehicles collide with bears, deer and recently elk crossing in and out of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, both animal and human lives are at stake. The I-40 Pigeon River Gorge wildlife corridor—a 28-mile stretch of highway near the Smokies’ boundary—is a key focus area for this group of agencies and stakeholders collaborating to find solutions in what is known as the Pigeon River Gorge Wildlife Connectivity Project. Steve Goodman, NPCA’s Volgenau wildlife research fellow says the primary goal of the project “is to improve wildlife’s ability to cross this portion of I-40 to improve public safety." According to Goodman, the results from the project will provide valuable insight into the highway’s effect on wildlife, both in terms of wildlife­–vehicle collisions and in terms of how the highway may be serving as a barrier to wildlife movement. “Reducing mortality and lessening the road barrier effect will increase the safe flow of animals," Goodman said, "including those moving to and from the Smokies—for seasonal breeding and foraging opportunities.” Since its inception in 1953, Great Smoky Mountains Association has supported the preservation of Great Smoky Mountains National Park by promoting greater public understanding and appreciation through education, interpretation and research. A nonprofit with its headquarters inside the national park, GSMA has contributed more than $44 million during its 66-year history. For more information, visit SmokiesInformation.org. For more information, call or email Membership Events Specialist Dana Murphy at (865) 436-7318 Ext. 349 or Dana@GSMAssoc.org. Registrations are required. Please register on the Great Smoky Mountains Association website at SmokiesInformation.org.


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Monday, July 15, 2019

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    Wednesday, July 10, 2019

  • Smith sentenced to 60 year prison term
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