Bat Week Events at Great Smoky Mountains National Park on October 30 Halloween Eve!

bat week in great smoky mountains national park

Rafinesque’s big-eared bat is one of the endangered species of bats. (Photo: Brian Carver, Plateau Ecological)

Bat Week Events will be held at Great Smoky Mountains National Park on Friday, October 30, 2015 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. at Sugarlands Visitor Center near Gatlinburg, Tennessee and Oconaluftee Visitor Center near Cherokee, North Carolina.

What better time than on Halloween Eve to learn all about the 12 species of bats found in Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the important role they play in maintaining our ecological balance. Park Rangers will be available at hands-on information stations for fun and educational activities about bats and their importance to our world and the current threat of white-nose syndrome to bats in the National Park and throughout the U.S.

“We first confirmed the presence of white-nose syndrome in the park in 2010,” said National Park Wildlife Biologist Bill Stiver, “The impact has been devastating. We estimate that some of our cave-dwelling bat populations have already declined by 80% and we are doing everything we can to both slow the spread of the disease and protect the remaining animals by closing caves and areas near caves to the public.”

Whiteoak Sink Area Closed Until Late Spring 2015

All of the Parks 16 caves were closed to the public in 2009 and in September 2015 the Whiteoak Sink area was closed to public. The area may reopen in late spring 2015 depending on the results of Park scientists findings as they monitor the site throughout the winter hibernation period to help develop a plan to deal with white-nose syndrome. More than 5.7 million bats in the United States have died leaving more than 40% of the bat species at risk or endangered.

Most hikers access Whiteoak Sink via Schoolhouse Gap Trail near Cades Cove. The closure includes the area between Cades Cove and Townsend within Schoolhouse Gap Trail and Turkeypen Ridge Trail west to the National Park boundary. Turkeypen Ridge and Schoolhouse Gap trails will remain open.

Bat Facts

  • Scientists estimate that a single bat can eat between 3,000 to 6,000 insects (mosquitoes, moths, and beetles) nightly.
  • Humans are not affected by white-nose syndrome; the fungus requires a cold body temp to survive. However, never touch or handle a bat. Bats are the only mammal species in the Smoky Mountains that have tested positive for rabies.
  • For more information on bats in the Smokies, visit GSMNP Cave Bats in Crisis.

More Hey Smokies Features:

Synchronous Fireflies in Great Smoky Mountains June 2024
Synchronous Fireflies in Great Smoky Mountains June 2024...
Smoky Mountain synchronous firefly dates announced. Synchronous Fireflies in Great Smoky Mountains June 2024. These aren’t your average back[Read More >>]
No thumbnail available
LeConte Lodge 100th Birthday...
LeConte Lodge 100th Birthday. Nestled among the misty peaks of the Great Smoky Mountains, Mount LeConte Lodge stands as a testament to both[Read More >>]
No thumbnail available
Smoky Mountain Spring Time Activities...
Smoky Mountain Spring Time Activities. Spring is in the air in the Smoky Mountains! In addition to fine dining, go karts and live music get[Read More >>]
No thumbnail available
Ramsey Cascades Closed...
Ramsey Cascades Closed beginning April 15, 2024. GSMNP will close Ramsey Cascades Trail on weekdays while trail crews finish the full-scale[Read More >>]
Blue Ridge Parkway
Blue Ridge Parkway...
Did you know that the Blue Ridge Parkway is connected to Great Smoky Mountains National Park? That's right; another National Park is a[Read More >>]
No thumbnail available
Eighties Throwback Party At The Island...
Eighties Throwback Party At The Island. This will be a fun night of nostalgia for the entire family. Mark your calendar for May 18, 2024&n[Read More >>]
No thumbnail available
Smoky Mountain Skunk Washing Competition...
Smoky Mountain Skunk Washing Competition! Nothing smells like spring in the Smoky Mountains like the annual skunk washing competition! No-o[Read More >>]
No thumbnail available
The Island St. Patrick's Day Celebration...
The Island St. Patrick's Day Celebration. The Island will host a free St. Patricks Day celebration with a jam session with Tuatha Dea. Tuat[Read More >>]
No thumbnail available
Cades Cove Burns...
Cades Cove Burns. Harnessing Fire: The Ecological Benefits of Prescribed Burns in Cades Cove. Nestled within the expansive Great Smo[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Full Wolf Moon
Smoky Mountain Full Wolf Moon...
Smoky Mountain full wolf moon is on the rise! Smoky Mountain Full Wolf Moon. Full Wolf Moon to rise on January 25, 2024. Mother Nature is g[Read More >>]
Wilderness Wildlife Week 2024
Wilderness Wildlife Week 2024...
Wilderness Wildlife Week 2024. Wilderness Wildlife Week is a week-long event that celebrates the natural beauty and wildlife of the Great S[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Black Bears Winter
Smoky Mountain Black Bears Winter...
Smoky Mountain black. bears. Always stay at least 50 yards away from Smoky Mountain wildlife. Smoky Mountain Black Bears Winter. Nestled wit[Read More >>]
No thumbnail available
New Year Black-eyed Peas And Greens Recipe...
New Year Black-eyed Peas And Greens Recipe. What is behind the Southern tradition of eating black-eyed peas and collard greens on New Years[Read More >>]
New Year's Eve Celebration At The Island In Pigeon Forge
New Year's Eve Celebration At The Island In Pigeon Forge...
Join the fun this New Year's Eve at The Island in Pigeon Forge! New Year's Eve Celebration At The Island In Pigeon Forge. The Island in Pige[Read More >>]
Christmas Cookie Recipe
Christmas Cookie Recipe...
Christmas Cookie Recipe. When the holidays arrive in the Great Smoky Mountains there are many HeySmokies sweet treat favorites but the tradition[Read More >>]
No thumbnail available
Smoky Mountain Parking Pass Scam Alert...
Smoky Mountain Parking Pass Scam Alert! Great Smoky Mountain Park officials are investigating an online scam selling fraudulent parking tag[Read More >>]
Aerosmith Rocks Smoky Mountains
Aerosmith Rocks Smoky Mountains...
Aerosmith Rocks Smoky Mountains on January 13, 2024. Get ready to welcome rock royalty, Knoxville! Aerosmith, the iconic band that has def[Read More >>]
Fun Filled Christmas Activities At Biltmore Mansion
Fun Filled Christmas Activities At Biltmore Mansion...
Fun-Filled Christmas Activities at Biltmore Mansion. As the holiday season sweeps across the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Biltmore Estate tran[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Campfire Ban Expires
Smoky Mountain Campfire Ban Expires...
Smoky Mountain Campfire Ban Expires beginning Wednesday, November 29, 2023. Precipitation, cooler temperatures and shorter days allow for [Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Aero Club
Smoky Mountain Aero Club...
Smoky Mountain Aero Club. Since 1936 Radio controlled model airplanes have been cruising the skies at local airfields across the country. M[Read More >>]