American Black Bears are prevalent on the Appalachian Trail, as well as the Great Smoky Mountains. Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the few places remaining in the eastern United States where black bears can live in wild, natural surroundings. For many, this famous Smokies’ resident is a symbol of wilderness. Bears inhabit all elevations of the park. Though populations are variable, counts conducted in 2006 indicated approximately 1,500 bears live in the park. This equals a population density of approximately two bears per square mile. At one time, the black bear’s range included most of North America except the extreme west coast. Because of the loss of habitat, the black bear is now confined to wooded areas or dense brushland.