Second Annual Appalachian Bear Fest is scheduled for June 2, 2018 from 11 a.m. til 3 p.m. at the ABR Visitor and Education Center, 121 Painted Trillium Way in Townsend, TN. This family friendly event benefits the Appalachian Bear Rescue (ABR) in Townsend.
Many fun activities are planned for the event including live music performed by Pistol Creek Catch of the Day, wildlife exhibits, artists nook, kid’s play area and a petting zoo! Charles the pig will make a special appearance and representatives from the American Eagle Foundation will be on hand to share their knowledge of America’s national symbol, the bald eagle. Smoky mountain hiking icon, Mike Maples, will share his adventures roaming the hills we call Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Everyone is encouraged to bring a lawn chair, kick back and enjoy a lovely afternoon of fun and fellowship in foothills of the Smoky Mountains. Your participation will benefit the amazing and beautiful symbol of the Smokies, the black bear.
The idea for ABR began to percolate after a severe black bear food shortage in 1989 forced bears to forage in highly populated areas. Leaving the shelter of the mountains the bears had many unfortunate conflicts with humans which resulted in a large number of orphaned cubs. A concerned group of volunteers banded together with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and Great Smoky Mountains National Park obtaining a corporate charter in early 1991 to make a difference in the lives of orphaned bears.
Since it’s founding ABR has received bears from numerous
Clementine Bear gains confidence at ABR.
national parks, states and the wild lands surrounding the Smokies. Orphaned bears lucky enough to make it to ABR receive a second chance at life in the wild. To date ABR has taken in 269 cubs and yearlings. Current residents include Clementine Bear and Viola Bear. Volunteers work diligently improving the facility to provide the best possible care for each bear needing a new lease on life.
Recent improvements include constructing two new Wild Enclosures and a Cub house for transitioning cubs from the nursery to the outdoor areas. Each Wild Enclosure can support up to ten cubs or yearlings. The oldest building on the property is known as the Red Roof Recovery Center and has recently been upgraded from storage space to a recovery center for injured cubs that are unable to climb.
ABR’s mission is to educate the public on living safely with bears and how to keep them wild. School programs and the Townsend Education Center are vital tools used in accomplishing this mission. ABR offers regular classes and a detailed schedule is available at ABR.org.
ABR is grateful to all of it’s generous supporters without whom this important work would not be possible. Be sure and join us June 2, 2018 and show your support for the Black Bear and ABR.
For more information on Black Bears in the HeySmokies region check out this short, informative video with retired Great Smoky Mountains National Park ranger Butch McDade.