Deptartment Of The Interior Plan Ends Discussion About Building North Shore Road In The Smokies
Wednesday, June 6, 2018
Senator Lamar Alexander today said the U.S. Department of the Interior’s fiscal year 2018 spending plan includes a $35 million payment to Swain County to “finally end the discussion about building the North Shore Road in the Smokies.”
“During his two visits to the Smokies during the last year, Secretary Zinke has made clear his commitment to restoring our national parks. This plan includes $35 million for settlement payments for the North Shore Road in the Smokies -- this is a long overdue payment to the residents of Swain County based on a promise made 75 years ago,” Alexander said.
“Equally important, it should finally end the discussion about whether to build the North Shore Road, which is impractical today because of environmental concerns and enormous cost. The spending plan also includes $2.5 million to rehabilitate the Elkmont Waste Water System, which is one of the Park’s visitors’ favorite campground spots.”
Today, the U.S. Department of the Interior released its fiscal year 2018 spending plan for National Park Service construction projects, which included funds for projects in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park: $35 million in settlement payments for the North Shore Road and $2.5 million to rehabilitate the Elkmont Waste Water System. In the late 1940s, construction of the Fontana Dam flooded a state highway in North Carolina. The federal government agreed to compensate the citizens of Swain County for the loss of the road. For decades Alexander and others fought against building the North Shore Road through the park – which would have cost hundreds of millions of dollars and disturbed pristine wilderness. Instead, Senator Alexander supported a full cash settlement. The fiscal year 2018 spending plan completes the settlement.