From Bays Mountain Park to the South Fork of the Holston River to the Kingsport Greenbelt, the Model City is surrounded by the beauty of Mother Nature.
Studies have shown living close to nature offers a variety of benefits – more opportunities to exercise, improved mental health, strengthened relationships, reduced stress and beautiful views throughout the year.
However, there are challenges to living close to nature. Most notably the wildlife living in the mountains, forests and streams in our community.
“Living close to nature means learning to live with it rather than against it,” said Tyler Wicks, chief ranger at Bays Mountain Park. “The people of Kingsport are privileged to have thousands of acres of wild lands right in their community. With this privilege comes a certain level of responsibility to know and respect your surroundings.”
Given Kingsport’s proximity to Bays Mountain, it’s not uncommon to see a black bear wandering through nearby neighborhoods like Ridgefields, Sullivan Gardens and Meadowview. Your best bet is to leave them alone or make loud noises to scare them away.
The number of deer living in Sullivan County has grown from virtually nothing 50 years ago to a healthy population today. When driving near wooded or mountainous areas at dawn or dusk, remember to be vigilant of deer and honk your horn if one runs into the road.
Skunks and raccoons can be a nuisance for many neighborhoods around town, from foraging in garbage cans to raiding bird feeders to fighting with the family dog. Bringing in pet food from outside at night may solve the problem or you may need to enlist a professional trapper.
Kingsport’s Communications Department, in conjunction with Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency (TWRA), is conducting a multi-part series this year on “Living with Nature,” which will highlight some of the animals found in our region (bears, deer, skunks, raccoons and snakes) and ways to protect you and your family if you encounter them – either in the wild or in your neighborhood.
The “Living with Nature” press releases can be found at www.kingsporttn.gov and on the Kingsport Alerts Facebook page.