Local Resident Receives National Parks Award for Efforts to Protect Great Smoky Mountains National Park

 
PRESS RELEASE
  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date:   May 6, 2011
Contact:   Shannon Andrea, Director of Media Relations, National Parks Conservation Association, Phone: 202-454-3371


Local Resident Receives National Parks Award for Efforts to Protect Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Washington, D.C.- The nonprofit National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) recently honored Luke D. Hyde, lawyer and innkeeper in Bryson City and NPCA Southeast Regional Council Member, with its annual Marjory Stoneman Douglas Award for his efforts to achieve a cash settlement in place of a road along the north shore of Fontana Lake in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
 
“Luke worked diligently to bring the people of Swain County together to create support for the North Shore Road settlement. His gracious manner, firm resolve, and fact-based advocacy proved to be essential in resolving this long-standing and contentious issue,” said NPCA Senior Regional Director Don Barger.

In February 2010, Rep. Heath Shuler of North Carolina announced that a settlement had been signed with Swain County, the State of North Carolina, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and the U.S. Department of the Interior.  The agreement effectively ended the decades-long dispute over building a road through the most remote, wild area of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Hyde was instrumental in organizing a local group, the Citizens for the Economic Future of Swain County, and involving conservationists from across the nation in the effort to resolve the road issue. Working together, they convinced public officials that a cash settlement would be better than completing construction of the Road to Nowhere with its potential for enormous environmental damage to the park.

“We must all work to ensure our national parks are protected and preserved for future generations to enjoy,” Barger added. “Thanks to the leadership of Luke Hyde and the efforts of many others in Swain County, the Great Smoky Mountains remain a place untouched by the inappropriate development that threatens so many of our national parks.”

NPCA’s annual Marjory Stoneman Douglas Award was established in 1986 to honor individuals who often must go to great lengths to advocate and fight for the protection of the National Park System. Named for Marjory Stoneman Douglas, a life-long advocate for Everglades National Park, the award recognizes the outstanding efforts on an individual or group that result in the protection of a site or proposed site in the National Park System. For more information, visit: www.npca.org.

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