|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
|Date:||May 25, 2007|
|Contact:||Greg Kidd, National Parks Conservation Association, 828-254-5161|
Cash Settlement Preferred Choice for Great Smoky Mountains
Statement by Greg Kidd, Senior Program Manager, National Parks Conservation Association
"Today, Great Smoky Mountains National Park announced that a cash settlement for Swain County is its preferred alternative to resolving the North Shore Road, a potentially environmentally devastating 30-mile road through the park, a project often referred to as the Road to Nowhere. A cash settlement is a winning solution not only for Swain County, but also for Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Halting construction of the road absolutely protects the integrity of the national park, immediately benefits Swain County, and it saves taxpayers more than half a billion dollars.
"More than four years ago, both the Swain County and Bryson City governments passed resolutions in support of a cash settlement in lieu of building a road along the north shore of Fontana Lake within the boundaries of the park. Both the city and county believe this is an equitable and beneficial way of resolving the dispute. Since then, state and federal officials have followed suit, clearly stating their support for a cash settlement as the fair solution to the Road to Nowhere.
Most recently, Senator Dole and Representative Shuler of North Carolina, Senators Alexander and Corker of Tennessee, and 13 other key members of Congress voiced their support to Interior Secretary Kempthorne for a cash settlement. The park's announcement is a critical step towards resolving an issue that has been looming over Swain County and Great Smoky Mountains National Park for more than 60 years."