Notice of Availability of Final Environmental Impact Statement for the North Shore Road in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The National Park Service (NPS) in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announces the availability of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the North Shore Road in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina. This document will be available for public review pursuant to Section 102(2)(C) of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 and NPS policy in Director's Order Number 12 (Conservation Planning, Environmental Impact Analysis, and Decision Making). The primary purpose of this FEIS is to finalize the documentation of the environmental analysis of the five alternatives studied in the document; to address substantive comments made on the Draft EIS; and to disclose the Agency's Preferred Alternative. The purpose of the proposed action is to discharge and satisfy any obligations on the part of the United States that presently exist as the result of the July 30, 1943, Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) among the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), Swain County, North Carolina, and the State of North Carolina. The need for the project is to determine whether or not it is feasible to complete the road and to evaluate other alternatives that would satisfy the obligation. The FEIS analyzed five alternatives for meeting the purpose and need of the project. The no-action alternative would continue current management practices and policies into the future. The monetary settlement (the preferred alternative) would provide Swain County, North Carolina, with a monetary settlement to satisfy and discharge the obligations of the MOA. Each of the other three action alternatives would allow various levels of development and/or road construction within the project study area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Under the Laurel Branch Picnic Area alternative, a day-use area on the north side of existing Lake View Road would be constructed. Outdoor facilities would include a multi-use picnic shelter, picnic tables, several loop trails, drinking fountains, and restrooms. Under the Partial-Build Alternative to Bushnell, up to 8 miles (12.9 km) of new roadway from the existing tunnel west to the vicinity of the former Bushnell settlement would be constructed. This alternative would provide a boat-launching ramp and restricted boat dock. Located near the terminus of the new roadway would be a multi-use picnic shelter and picnic tables, a backcountry permit station, an information kiosk, restrooms, and a parking area. Exhibit/museum space would be designed to highlight local heritage of the area and could include concession opportunities. Under the Northern Shore Corridor Alternative, 29 to 34.3 miles of new roadway to the vicinity of Fontana Dam would be constructed. It would connect Lake View Road to NC Hwy. 28. This alternative would include provisions for the development of an auto- tour guide describing the historic and natural points of interest along the route. Also, restrooms would be built at appropriate locations. The NPS Preferred Alternative is the Monetary Settlement Alternative. The Monetary Settlement would ensure that resources of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Appalachian National Scenic Trail would be unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations. It would fulfill project goals and objectives including the protection of natural, cultural, and recreational resources.