I have lived in Wyoming and our family vacations often are the mountainous hiking variety. I always research the area we are going to so we do not do something foolish. In the reading I have done regarding the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and the surrounding communities I have come across more bear warnings and reported problems at resort communities and neighborhoods, (as well as the park) more so than any other area I have researched. or visited....Alaska and Canada not included ;)
While looking to book a cabin, I have had several of the people at these agencies tell me of their own personal experiences with bears. The advice I was given is to be aware of your surroundings at all times. If you need to go out to your car after dark, turn on the porch light and use a flashlight. I am talking cabins that are NOT secluded and are part of a community. I was told that these native people have bears in their driveways every morning and often later evenings and see them when driving into work. I was told to be extra wary of a momma bear and her cubs and that bears are more frightened of me.
I have also read that this area is now more prone to problem or aggressive bears because it does not dispose of garbage properly and too many tourists feed the bears while in the park. Well, I am sure having 2 bears per square mile has something to do with it also.
I would like to visit with my family and if we do I will get bear spray and learn how to use it BEFORE going, but I would also like to know if what I am reading is exaggerated. There were deaths here and gruesome unprovoked attacks here not long ago.
Information would be appreciated. Thank you for your help.