Men injured by black bears in two separate incidents in WNC

Two bear and human interactions in Western North Carolina resulted in human injury last weekend. On November 2, a Spruce Pine resident was sitting in his driveway at dusk when a mama bear and her cub walked through his front yard. The man’s curious Great Dane approached the bears and a fight erupted between the dog and the mama bear. When the man tried to break up the fight he was bitten on the arm by the mama bear that then ran away. The man drove himself to the hospital where he was treated for his injuries. His dog also sustained injuries and was treated at an animal hospital. 

Earlier the same day, a man bear hunting in Pisgah National Forest was injured when the bear he’d run up a tree and shot fell out of the tree and began biting him. The hunter and the bear tumbled down a small cliff before the bear eventually walked away. The man sustained injuries to his stomach, legs and pelvis. 

Woman breaks Tour de LaConte record, raises money for trail rehabilitation

Nancy East, of Waynesville, NC, completed the Tour de LeConte on October 25, a challenge that requires hikers to walk all six trails leading to Mount LeConte in Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Only 35 people are known to have accomplished the feat, which requires hikers to walk the 44 miles of trail in a 24-hour period. East set two goals before she set out on her challenge: to set the fastest known time by a woman and to fundraise at least $5,000 for the rehabilitation of the Trillium Gap trail.

East accomplished both of her goals, finishing the challenge in a record-breaking 16 hours and 13 minutes and raising at least $6,691 for the trails. East did not hike alone; she accomplished the challenge with Chris Ford of Knoxville, Tennessee. 

In addition to her latest accomplishment, East is also one of a small group of hikers who has hiked all 850 miles of trails in Great Smoky Mountain National Park. 

Scientists around the world say we have reached a “climate emergency”

Over 11,000 scientists around the world around are sounding the alarm (again) and declaring that we are now in a “climate emergency.” The warning was published in the scientific journal Bioscience and states, “clearly and unequivocally, that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency.”

The declaration stands out because it is peer reviewed and is the first time that such a large number of scientists have directly warned the public that what we are facing is a climate crisis, instead of just letting the data make the case.