New Smokey Bear song corrects the icon’s name

Smokey Bear's debut
Smokey Bear’s debut in 1944.

When the Smokey Bear fire prevention campaign began in 1944 he was known as just that, “Smokey Bear” without “the” in the name.

But in 1952 Steve Nelson and Jack Rollins wrote what became a successful song named “Smokey the Bear”. They said adding “the” enhanced the song’s rhythm. A Little Golden Book published about the bear in 1955 followed the songwriters lead and also used the incorrect “the” version of the name.

All this created confusion, but the name of the fire prevention icon is and always has been Smokey Bear.

A few years ago the U.S. Forest Service gave a grant to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources who teamed up with students from the Columbus College of Art and Design and 2Tall Animation Studio to research, design, and create a new Smokey Bear animated video and song.

Notice his name…

A teacher’s kit is available that has wildfire prevention activities, lyrics to the song, a Smokey Bear comic book, and coloring pages.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, Bill Gabbert now writes about it from the Black Hills.

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3 thoughts on “New Smokey Bear song corrects the icon’s name”

  1. If the recent statistics are correct which I believe they may be underestimated that 60% of the US wildfires are human caused perhaps all the federal Wildland fire agencies should put more resources in educating our nations youth and younger adults in wildfire prevention utilizing more Smokey Bear’s iconic messages. The States and Local Government fire agencies still use the Smokey Bear wildfire message extensively

    1. I have Loved the Outdoors all my life…have grew up with Smokey and loved him forever…..
      I have also tried to get Smokey to Visit our Local State Parks in CT Black Rock State park is one of my absolute favorites ..I have volunteered to help I am a bit too small in size for the outfit but have friends who would if they were asked. How can I make this happen? Smokey is a great way to reach out to the kids and inspire them with respect and regard for the forests!
      Christy Hotchkiss in CT

      1. Christy, often National Forests will have access to a Smokey costume, but the closest NF to CT is the Green Mountain NF in Vermont. Even if they have one, I doubt if they will bring it to CT, but if you give them a call at (802) 747-6700, they may have have some better suggestions.

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