Photo #1398 – 09.12.12
Cataloochee Valley, Where the Elk Roam (Sometimes…)
Elk were once found all over the southern Appalachian Mountains, but it is believed the last elk in North Carolina were killed off in the late 1700s. Beginning in 2001, Great Smoky Mountains National Park started a reintroduction program with 25 elk, and as of this past summer, about 140 elk make up the herd in and around the park. Cataloochee Valley is one of the most common areas for park visitors to spot some elk, but we weren’t that lucky on this particular day. Even so, we enjoyed some time in this isolated part of the park.
Interestingly, it is illegal to willfully approach within 150 feet of an elk in the park…but with adult males reaching upwards of 700 pounds, I don’t think I have a desire to approach an elk out in the wild…