Originally Posted by Barbara
Last fall on the Pigeon I saw a patch of ground that looked like it had been turned, almost plowed. Reminded me of the hog lot when I was a kid. Wonder if wild hogs did that?
Barbara, that was probably the work of a boar. That's one of the many problems associated with the wild hog population in the park. The NPS has had a policy of total eradication for the hogs. I met a young Park Ranger from over on the TwentyMile side of the Park earlier this year, and he has been hired to hunt and kill as many hogs as he can find in the Park.
Here's some interesting info from the site "Wild Hogs of the Smoky Mtns
The hog behavior of rooting while searching for food causes the most damage to the park. Many plant species, including ones that are rare or that take several years to flower, are eaten, trampled, or uprooted by the rototiller action of a foraging hog. Native animals are also victim to the wild hog through direct consumption, destruction of habitat, and competition. For example, red-cheeked salamanders, which are endemic to the park, are commonly found in hog stomachs.
Both wallowing and rooting contaminate streams, causing potential problems for the native brook trout. Hog occupied drainages have been found to have a higher concentration of coliform bacteria than unoccupied drainages. These bacteria contaminate water sources, which is a health consideration in heavily used recreational areas such as the park.