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    Great Smoky Mountains

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Final Environmental Impact Statement and General Management Plan Amendment on Elkmont

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Date: May 8, 2009
Contact: Bob Miller, (865) 436-1207

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials have announced that the Notice of Availability of the Elkmont Historic District Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and General Management Plan Amendment was published on May 1 in the Federal Register. The Elkmont Historic District, contains 74 vacant structures which were constructed as vacation retreats in the two decades just prior to the Park's establishment in 1934. The District is located about eight miles from Gatlinburg in the Sevier County, Tenn., portion of the national park

The FEIS outlines the National Park Service's plans to preserve 18 cabins and the Appalachian Clubhouse and to document and remove the remaining structures. The plan is the result of a five year public process that evaluated the natural, cultural and cost impacts of six alternatives ranging from removing all the buildings, which was the action called for in the Park's 1982 General Management Plan, to preserving all the buildings for use as concession-operated lodging and a restaurant. 
 
Park Superintendent Dale Ditmanson said, "This proposal retains 18 buildings for use as an historic district with exhibits for public interpretation of the Elkmont story from its days as a logging camp through its life as a summer resort community. It includes restoration of the Appalachian Clubhouse which would be made available for public rental for day-use events on a reservation basis, much as we do with five of our picnic pavilions."

The core grouping of 18 preserved buildings would include a cabin that was associated with David C. Chapman, a leader in the movement to create the national park and the Spence Cabin along Little River. 
 
"The remainder of the buildings would be removed and the areas they occupy would be restored as a natural system," Ditmanson said. "After careful study, and consultation, we have concluded that this alternative strikes a balance between preserving natural and cultural resources."

Under provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act, the NPS may execute a Record of Decision (ROD) no sooner than 30 days following the publication of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Notice of Availability in the Federal Register.
 
The complete FEIS is available for review or download on the internet at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/

Copies of the FEIS will also be available for review at the following locations:

Pack Memorial Library, 67 Haywood Street, Asheville, North Carolina 28801;
Marianna Black Library, 33 Fryemont Road, Bryson City, North Carolina 28713;  
Charlotte and Mecklenburg County Main Library, 310 North Tryon Street,
Charlotte, North Carolina 28202;
Qualla Boundary Public Library, 810 Acquoni Road, Cherokee, NC 28719;
Anna Porter Public Library, 207 Cherokee Orchard Road, Gatlinburg, Tennessee  37738;
GSMNP Headquarters, 107 Park Headquarters Road, Gatlinburg, Tennessee 37738;
Lawson-McGee Library, 500 West Church Avenue, Knoxville, Tennessee 37915;
Cameron Village Regional Library, 410-200 Oberlin Road, Raleigh, North Carolina 27605;
Graham County Public Library, 80 Knight Street, Robbinsville, North Carolina 28771.

Did You Know?

Marbled salamanders are one of 30 salamander species native to the park.

There are at least 30 different species of salamanders in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This gives the Smokies the distinction of having the most diverse salamander population anywhere in the world and has earned the park the nickname “Salamander Capital of the World.” More...