Success Stories: Great Smoky Mountains Brookies

April 27, 2009 By: Marshall Cutchin

Elk in North Carolina? Turns out elk used to roam large portions of the southern Appalachian Mountains, so it should be no surprise that they, along with restored populations of native brook trout, would flourish in this “hotspot for biodiversity.” While the Smokies’ first superintendent, J. Ross Eakin, concluded the total population of the deer in the park was around three, diligent efforts on the part of Park employees, scientists and volunteers have proven that it is possible to overcome decades of misuse.
“Like other native species that now populate Great Smoky Mountains National Park, native brook trout was nearly gone from the park when it was established in 1934. Logging, the introduction of nonnative trout species and pollution led to the disappearance of the trout from 75 percent of its original range in the Smokies.” Nancy Bompey in the Asheville, North Carolina Citizen-Times.