North Shore Road Environmental Impact Statement - 2004

Please download to get full document.

View again

of 184
4 views
PDF
All materials on our website are shared by users. If you have any questions about copyright issues, please report us to resolve them. We are always happy to assist you.
Document Description
Cultural resources report on the Fontana Lake North Shore Road proposal in Western North Carolina
Document Share
Documents Related
Document Tags
Document Transcript
  CULTURAL RESOURCES EXISTING CONDITIONS REPORT,NORTH SHORE ROAD ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT,SWAIN AND GRAHAM COUNTIES, NORTH CAROLINA F INAL R  EPORT ARPA Permit GRSM 03-001SEAC Accession No. 1850Submitted toA RCADIS G&M OF  N ORTH C AROLINA , I  NC .800 Corporate Center, Suite 300Raleigh, North Carolina 27607ByTRC G ARROW A SSOCIATES I  NC .501 Washington Street, Suite FDurham, North Carolina 27701Project No. 02427Authored byPaul A. Webbwith contributions by Heather L. Olson and David S. LeighJanuary 2004  ii ABSTRACT/MANAGEMENT SUMMARY Cultural resource background studies have been undertaken as part of the North Shore RoadEnvironmental Impact Statement (EIS), which is designed to determine the feasibility of and assess the potential environmental effects associated with fulfillment of a 1943 agreement among the U.S.Department of Interior (DOI), the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), Swain County, and the state of  North Carolina, calling for the construction of a road along the North Shore of Fontana Lake in western North Carolina. This road proposal srcinated in the early 1940s with the construction of TVA’s FontanaLake in Swain and Graham counties. Due to the inundation of parts of the Little Tennessee andTuckasegee valleys, road access was cut off to some 44,000 acres lying above the reservoir pool on thenorth side of the lake. Rather than construct a road to access the area during wartime conditions, the TVAacquired the entire 44,000-acre area and subsequently transferred its ownership to Great SmokyMountains National Park (GSMNP). Although limited road construction took place between 1948 and theearly 1970s, construction was stopped in 1972 due to environmental and engineering concerns. The project has remained controversial since that time, with numerous alternate proposals put forth by road proponents and opponents. The North Shore Road EIS study is intended to bring this long simmeringcontroversy to a close, and to discharge and satisfy any obligations on the part of the government that presently exist as the result of the 1943 agreement. The present cultural resources studies are an initialstep towards that goal, and are designed to gather and summarize existing data concerning the known or  potential cultural resources of the 121,000-acre study area for use in developing project alternatives.The North Shore Road study area has a rich history. Native Americans have occupied the area for at leastthe past 10,000 years, including several hundred years of Historic Cherokee presence. Although mostCherokees were forcibly removed from the region in 1838, others remained within the study area, andalong with other nearby Cherokee groups formed the nucleus of the present-day Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Euro-Americans began to enter the area in numbers in the 1820s, living first indispersed settlements; some of these later developed into such communities as Bryson City, Bushnell,Proctor, Almond, and Judson. The relatively self-sufficient farming/herding/hunting lifestyles of thenineteenth century began to change with the arrival of the railroad and the beginning of logging andmining operations in the 1880s and 1890s, and were modified greatly when large-scale railroad loggingcommenced about 1910. Lumber companies such as Ritter, Norwood, Whiting, and Montvale loggedextensive parts of the study area before ceasing operations in the late 1920s. By the time the lumber companies left, the Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa) had developed plans for a reservoir alongthe Little Tennessee River and had begun buying up bottomland. Also in the late 1920s, the NorthCarolina Park Commission began acquiring parcels in the northern part of the study area for GSMNP,which was formally established in 1934. TVA took control of the proposed Alcoa reservoir in 1941, andeventually acquired 68,291 acres in the Fontana Project area. Many communities along the rivers wereinundated by Fontana Lake when it was completed in 1944, and others were isolated by the reservoir construction. In total, approximately 1,320 families were displaced by the reservoir.Despite its history, relatively few cultural resource studies have been previously conducted in the studyarea, and the extent of the coverages and resulting data is extremely uneven. Although considerableinformation is available concerning cemeteries and historic structures, only an estimated 3.0 percent of the study area has been intensively surveyed for archaeological sites. In particular, essentially nointensive surveys have been conducted on the 53,600 acres of GSMNP lands in the study area. As aresult, attempts to determine the likely locations and densities of sites and other resources in the studyarea must rely on a combination of existing information and predictions based on topographic andhistorical data. The resulting data will prove useful in the preliminary identification of projectalternatives, but will eventually need to be supplemented by intensive inventory and evaluation studies.Almost 2,000 known or predicted potentially significant cultural resources have been tentativelyidentified in the study area, including 101 of 250 recorded archaeological sites, 16 other reported site  iiilocations, 44 structures and other aboveground resources, 97 cemeteries or former cemeteries, and 1,716former historic structure locations derived from historic maps.(Another 149 archaeological sites have been determined ineligible for the National Register of Historic Places [NRHP]). Although some of theseresources are inundated by Fontana Lake, they must be considered potentially NRHP-eligible pendingfurther study. Many other sites and potential sites are located above the reservoir pool in GSMNP or elsewhere. Besides these recorded or potential resources, the specific locations of large numbers of  prehistoric, Historic Cherokee, and earlier Euro-American archaeological sites cannot be predicted basedon historic maps. Those sites are considered most likely to occur in areas of 15 percent or less slope,however, although some specialized site types may occur on steeper areas. In addition, the locations of some other types of potential resources, such as Traditional Cultural Properties (TCPs) and culturallandscapes, cannot be readily predicted based on physiographic variables. Despite these limitations, thecombination of known and potential resource locations and slope data offers the best way to predict likelysite locations in the absence of extensive field surveys.In order to facilitate the selection of preliminary project alternatives, a series of maps have been preparedshowing the known and potential resource locations (including known and potential archaeological sites,structures, and cemeteries, as well as likely areas of 15 percent or less slope) within the study area.
We Need Your Support
Thank you for visiting our website and your interest in our free products and services. We are nonprofit website to share and download documents. To the running of this website, we need your help to support us.

Thanks to everyone for your continued support.

No, Thanks