Elk on the Appalachian Trail

elkThought to be near extinction in the early 1900s, the NPS has reintroduced the elk back into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The experimental program began with 25 elk in 2001 and an additional 27 in 2002 and will continue unless the elk threaten park resources or cause significant conflicts with park visitors. All the elk are tracked with radio collars.

Elk can be dangerous, particularly cows protecting their calves and bulls who feel threatened by perceived threats for territory. The adult bull can weigh up to 700 pounds and have antlers that can extend as wide as 5 feet. Adults are 7-10 feet long and 4.5 to 5 feet tall.

About the Author Steve Burge:
Steve Burge was the original founder of AppalachianTrail.com. He was a teacher for many years before starting a web development firm.
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