Black Bear Central at Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge

A black bear resting at Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge.
A black bear resting at Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge.

Every once in a while we’ll get a notice or something will come across our desk that is a reminder of just how remarkable the world of the Outer Banks is.

In this case, it’s not quite the Outer Banks, but awfully close. Right next door at Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge.

The Refuge, it seems, has one of the largest, if not the largest, concentrations of black bear on the East Coast. Perhaps one of the largest populations to be found anywhere.

For those of us who have driven on US 64 as it passes through East Lake, which borders ARNWR, it’s probably not much of a surprise hearing this. It’s not as though a bear is seen every day, but it is not that rare either. Same for US 264 through Stumpy Point.

For that matter, anyone who has hiked, kayaked, biked or spent any time in the Reserve, seeing a black bear is a part of the experience.

By and large the bears want nothing whatsoever to do with humans, so when they do see one of us, they saunter off into the brush or woods. To our civilized eyes they look kind of cute, and certainly harmless, but the fact is they are wild animals weighing between 200-400 pounds with a lot of muscle. 

About the only time they will get upset or approach humans is if there is interaction with cubs. Mama bears tend to think of that as a threat.

Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge is 152,000 acre refuge that is for the most part on mainland Dare County. There are hiking and biking trails in the refuge as well as extensive areas for kayaking. 

It’s name is a reference to the northern most reach of the alligator, so yes, there are alligators that live there, as well as an extraordinary diversity of birds and an active breeding program for the endangered red wolf.

The Outer Banks is a place of many surprises. A visit to this remarkable strip of sand is better with a stay at a Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates home.

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