A Trail that Connects the AT to the PCT & 6,000 Black Bears in TN

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A trail that connects the AT to the PCT? Here’s what you need to know.

Thinking of tackling the Appalachian Trail (AT) or the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT)? What about hiking them both at once? The American Perimeter Trail, an idea cooked up by “devoted” hiker Rue McKenrick, will allow you to do just that. Should the trail become a reality, it will run 12,000 miles and connect the AT to the PCT via a southern route.

McKenrick, who has hiked the AT, PCT and the Continental Divide Trail, is currently on the ground mapping out his vision. He says the idea came to him 10 years ago and he hopes the American Perimeter Trail would “create not just a recreational trail that goes roughly around the perimeter of the contiguous United States, but… also create a conservation corridor within, that connects communities all over.” 

New study estimates up to 6,000 black bears in East Tennessee

A study that looked at the black bear population in East Tennessee estimates around 5,500 to 6,000 of the animals live in the region between Mountain City and east of Chattanooga, including Great Smoky Mountains National Park. 

To come up with a head count of black bears, the Southern Appalachian Cooperative Bear Study set up snares to collect fur samples. Wildlife biologist Dan Gibbs told The Daily Times that the numbers for Tennessee are a bit lower than he would have thought outside the national park. 

Killer whale that swam with dead calf is a mother again

The killer whale that made headlines in 2018 after she swam with her dead calf for 17 days, refusing to let it go, has become a mother again. The whale, know to researchers as J35, gave birth to a calf last week, the Whale Research Center said in a news release.

“Her new calf appeared healthy and precocious,” the release said. It has been seen swimming vigorously alongside its mother. Researchers believe the calf was born on September 4. While the new addition appears to be doing well, the center says about 40% of calves die due to the nutritional stress.

Photo: courtesy of Getty Images by dssimages

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