National park sign vandalized with racist message, bear skin

Investigators are looking for additional information from anyone who may have observed activity leading to the vandalism to the Foothills Parkway West Entrance Sign near the Highway 321 intersection in Walland, Tennessee, between Sept. 18-19, 2020. (Photo: National Park Service)

WALLAND, TN (AP) — Investigators at Great Smoky Mountains National Park are trying to identify who mounted a cardboard sign with a racist message and hung the skin and head of a black bear over one of its signs.

Visitors reported seeing the bear skin and sign on Saturday morning on a welcome sign near a highway intersection in Walland, Tennessee.

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The Park Service is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to those responsible.

Chief Ranger Lisa Hendy said they take vandalism seriously in the park, and “this particular incident is particularly egregious.”