National Geographic : 1958 May
W. F. Alston, National Park Service Black Bear and Frolicking Cubs Give Camera Fans a Treat in the Smokies "DANGEROUS. Bears are wild animals, even though they appear tame. Don't feed or tease them; keep a safe distance." So warn the Park Service signs in big, bold letters, but each year a hundred or so careless visitors are clawed or mauled by the bruins. More than 250 black bears inhabit the wilderness area of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. time.* Commercial demand for hides endan gered the alligators and crocodiles. Gunners shot baby manatees for their veal like meat. Farmers sought to drain the life giving water to make croplands. Collectors even decimated the wild orchids. Now this place is a park; rangers warn the hunters away, and your children's children will enjoy it in its primeval state. I strongly suspect they will have to come in by boat, as we did. As long as the Park Service holds it, roads should end where the mysteries of the Everglades begin. Not all gifts to the park system are on the 652 scale of Acadia or Everglades. We're in debted to hundreds of individuals for smaller contributions. Large or small, every gift has been welcome; they are a sure sign that the people of the Nation value their parks. Everglades is a nature park, and so are the others we've visited thus far-even the Indian ruins, for the Indian lived close to nature and rarely upset its delicate balance. Now we'll visit some landmarks of American history, and I hope you'll note how they are neatly * See "Saving Man's Wildlife Heritage," by John H. Baker, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, November, 1954.