Asheville Area Bears- Providing a new perspective. From the killing of some neighborhood goats to a close brush with a overly zealous tourist the Asheville bears are bringing a new perspective to the term wild bear.
Last week, after serving breakfast at our inn we noted that we did not have a Check In that day so decided to take the afternoon off and take a drive to Cherokee. The vision was to take a hike north of the Cherokee Indian Reservation to Mingo Falls one of our favorite places.
We drove through the downtown tourista area first seeking to get some fluids for the hike. Perhaps the places I noticed that day have always been there. I'm sure they have but possibly not seen or noticed by me but what with all the hubbub about our Asheville bears I took special note on that day.
There are bear exhibits there. Baby bears free for the looking, holding petting. Larger bears too held there in storefronts to provide photo-ops for the tourists.
Something about that saddened me deeply. I mentioned going to Cherokee but didn't tell you why I first fell in love with that area. It was the Cherokee Indian Museum there. Basically, this museum takes the viewer on a sojourn of the Cherokee Nation. The great band of the Cherokee, their native culture, their respect for the land and all things abiding on the land. These native souls were known for their benevolent land conservancy measures and their respect and good stewardship of the gifts of nature. It also tells the story of the Indian Removal Act and the Trail of Tears.
It was moving, informative and left one with a complete knowledge that in their dealings with the "white man" the Cherokee had definitely taken the high road always trying to honor their word, respect the land and all who occupied it. Back to the "bear exhibits" and the feelings seeing that engendered in me. Can a business person make money on bears and all activities surrounding tourism and bears? I think the answer is categorically yes. Are bears wild animals not living their destined lives while being held captive to provide these exhibits? I know the answer is yes. Are these exhibits a worthy display of the greatness, wisdom, land conservancy and good stewardship the Great Cherokee Nation is known for. A resounding NO!
Most of the guests At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn over our more than 11 years here I know would agree.
Patti and Gary Wiles, Innkeepers