The Great Smoky Mountains National Park covers 521,085.66 acres, and is home to 1,600 black bears. That’s 100 times as many black bears than live at Yosemite. The Park also has more than 9 million visitors per year…so it’s no wonder that sometimes visitors and wildlife collide.
Park Ranger Kim DeLozier loves his job, and his decades in the Park have spawned a collection of sometimes amazing -- and always amusing stories. DeLozier wavers between being extremely adept at his job to being the National Park version of Barney Fife. In his memoir, 'Bear in the Back Seat' he tells his adventures from his early, wet-behind-the-ears days of ranger training, to his days as a vetted ‘I’ve seen everything’ wildlife professional.
Although the memoir includes animals other than bears, DeLozier’s main message in this memoir is that a fed bear is a dead bear. He explains how hikers and campers endanger wild bears when they break the rules and feed them. DeLozier drives the message home in story after story, where bears who associate humans with food get themselves into all sorts of trouble.
A Park Ranger’s life is never boring. Erring on the safe side; and not to adversely impact the health of any animal, the ranger frequently miscalculates the amount of tranquilizer needed to capture animals and has to deal with them waking up in awkward places. Sedated bears unexpectedly wake up in helicopters, cars, and offices. 77 sedated skunks wake up in the back of a pickup truck. A wild boar creates havoc on the end of a catch pole, spinning the ranger like a top, while his helper is forced to jump the pole again and again before the animal can be sedated.
Author, Carolyn Jourdan presents these stories as told to her by DeLozier, in her inimitable style. Many of the stories are laugh-out-loud funny, and the vivid images will stay with the reader long after the reading.
Carolyn Jourdan is an amazon bestselling author who writes about her time spent in the Tennessee Mountains. Her books ‘Heart in the Right Place’, and ‘Medicine Men: Extreme Appalachian Doctoring’ are humorous memoirs about her encounters with the people in the area, and her book, ‘Out on a Limb: a Smoky Mountain Mystery’ is a cozy mystery that takes place in the National Park. ‘Bear in the Back Seat’ continues a perfect progression of her entertaining books set in the Appalachians.
'Bear in the Back Seat' is available in the Kindle store and will soon be available in print.