Are bears getting a little more numerous, getting less afraid of people or was I just really lucky this past week? We were in Gatlinburg July 21st-25th. In this 5 day period we saw seven bears. In Cades Cove we saw 4, Roaring Fork 1, we had a bear turn over a trash can outside our bedroom window at 3:00am (we were staying in Gatlinburg On E. Parkway right off the road) and we had kind of a scary, surprise encounter with a very large one in Mynatt Park. We spoke to a man in the Chimney's picnic area who told us about a bear walking down the strip in downtown Gatlinburg. I'm in my 30's and have been going to Gatlnburg since I can remember. We would get lucky if we saw a bear at all on any of our trips. Has any other frequent visitors feel like they have had more encounters with bears. Maybe with all the growth in the area the bears have less places to go?