North Shore Road

This document is the 1948 Agreement of Transfer between Tennessee Valley Authority and United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service relating to property in Swain County. The agreement was required by the 1943 Memorandum of Agreement.

The road issue dates to 1943, when Fontana Lake was created to generate hydroelectric power for the nation’s war effort. Residents of the area were forced to move, but through an agreement between Swain County, the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Department of the Interior, were assured they would be given access to family cemeteries via a road along the lake’s northern shore. Their property later became part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The promised road was started but abandoned in the 1960s due to environmental and engineering concerns. The road became known as “the Road to Nowhere.” Right along, descendants of the displaced mountaineers have lobbied hard for the road, sometimes with support in Washington, sometimes without. In the fall of 2007, a missing piece in the controversy was set in place when the National Park Service issued a final environmental-impact statement, which recommended a cash settlement with Swain County over building the road.

Click here to download a PDF of the document.

This document includes just a few of the pertinent pages of the 638-page environmental impact statement that the National Park Service put together. The report weighs the impact of road building in the park.

Click here to download a PDF of the document.

This document is the “record of decision” regarding the National Park Service’s position on whether to finish building the road.

Click here to download a PDF of the document.

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