Press Release

Gatlinburg asks Citizens and Visitors to be Bear Aware

GATLINBURG, Tenn.— The City of Gatlinburg is asking citizens and visitors to be Bear Aware and to notify the Police Department of any bear sightings or encounters within Gatlinburg in order to keep individuals and bears safe.

Individuals are reminded that it is illegal to feed bears and that all garbage cans should be animal-proof receptacles for the proper storage of waste. Keeping food and waste properly stored reduces the instances for human-bear interactions and ensures that bears are able to safely coexist in our environment.

The City asks any bear sightings or incidents to be reported to the Gatlinburg Police Department by calling 865-436-5181.

“We know you want to get photos and videos of any time you come close to a Bear, but please notify the Police Department of any bear incidents or encounters,” Gatlinburg Police Chief Randy Brackins said. “It is imperative that we all do our part to help keep bears wild and to keep everyone safe.”

The City reminds individuals to follow these six basics to keep yourself and bears safe:

  • Never feed or approach bears.
  • Secure food, garbage and recycling.
  • Remove bird feeders when bears are active.
  • Never leave pet food outside.
  • Clean and store grills.
  • Know what to do if you see a bear.

Black bears are seldom aggressive and attacks are rare, but if you see a bear before it notices you stand still, don’t approach; then move away quietly in the opposite direction. If you encounter a bear that is aware of you, don’t run, as running may trigger a chase response. Back away slowly. Make sure bears are not cornered and have an escape route during any encounters.