Environmental Assessment Available for White Oak Road
Contact: Nancy Gray, (865) 436-1208
Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials have announced the release of the White Oak Road Environmental Assessment. The assessment analyzes a proposal to issue a right-of-way (ROW) permit to North Carolina Department of Transportation (NC DOT) to allow widening of White Oak Road (State Rd. 1338) in Haywood County, NC, where the road crosses National Park Service property near I-40 at the Fines Creek exit. Park managers are inviting written or electronic public comments on the Park's proposed actions during a 30 day review process. Comments are due by March 19, 2010.
The document analyzes two alternatives and summarizes impact topics and potential environmental consequences associated with implementation of the alternatives: Alternative A is the No Action Alternative where there would be no changes made to the narrow, unpaved road corridor. The No Action alternative is presented as a requirement of the National Environmental Policy Act, (NEPA) and is the baseline condition with which proposed activities are compared. Alternative B is the Build Alternative and is the Environmentally Preferred and Preferred Alternative. NPS will work with NC DOT on several elements of the project to ensure no long-term adverse impacts on the environment.
The Environmental Assessment has been posted and is available for public review on the NPS' Planning web site at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/grsm, "White Oak Road EA" link. The public can provide comments directly on the project site by the March 19 deadline. Before including address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in the comment, be aware that the entire comment - including personal identifying information - may be made publicly available at any time.
Did You Know?
What lives in Great Smoky Mountains National Park? Although the question sounds simple, it is actually extremely complex. Right now scientists think that we only know about 17 percent of the plants and animals that live in the park, or about 17,000 species of a probable 100,000 different organisms.