North Shore Road

North Shore Road Position

The Carolina Mountain Club supports the Monetary Settlement Study Alternative to settle the 1943 agreement concerning a proposed road on the north shore of Lake Fontana in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The monetary settlement would provide compensation to Swain County. No additional roadway would be built.


The Conservation Committee recommends that the CMC support the Monetary Settlement/No Road Alternative for the following reasons:

- The road would cross the Appalachian Trail and adversely impact AT viewsheds.

- The Benton MacKaye Trail falls within the proposed road corridor for almost the entire length of the road corridor.

- The Lakeshore Trail falls within the proposed road corridor for almost its entire length.

- Sections of the Forney Creek, Bear Creek, Hazel Creek, Eagle Creek and Lost Cove Trails fall within the proposed road corridor.

- These trails are located in one of the largest road-less areas in the Southern Appalachians. The proposed road would destroy wilderness values important to the hiking experience. Not only is the North Shore area unique in WNC, it is unique nationally and globally.

- The proposed road would adversely impact the overall environmental health of the Great Smokey Mountains National Park.

The five study alternatives are summarized on the reverse side. More information on the North Shore Road study alternatives, history and issues, in addition to summaries of citizen comments, can be found at http://www.northshoreroad.info/ and http://www.safc.org/campaigns/northshoreroad.php.

Descriptions of the five study alternatives follow.

• No-Action

No improvements to Lake View Road except routine maintenance.

• Monetary Settlement

Swain County Commissioners passed a resolution saying they would settle the 1943 Agreement by accepting a monetary settlement of $52 million. No additional roadway would be built.

• Laurel Branch Picnic Area

A day-use area would be built on the north side of existing Lake View Road, just east of the existing tunnel parking area. Amenities would include exhibit panels, a new two-way paved entrance/exit road, occasional ranger-led educational programs, a multi-use picnic shelter; picnic tables, several loop trails, drinking fountains, and restrooms.

• Partial-Build to Bushnell

Four to eight miles of new roadway from the existing tunnel west to the vicinity of Bushnell would be built. Two options for crossing Forney Creek will be studied: a major bridge crossing of the creek embayment, and a smaller crossing of the creek north of the impounded waters. There would be a boat-launching ramp and boat dock at the terminus.

Additional amenities would include exhibit/museum space; a multi-use picnic shelter and picnic tables, restrooms, and a parking area to accommodate vehicles, and horse and boat trailers; and interpretive loop trails. A commercial concession may also be considered.

• Northern Shore Corridor

This option would generally follow the northern shore of Fontana Lake for 29 to 38 miles to the vicinity of Fontana Dam, substantially following the Lakeshore Trail. Major bridge crossings of the Forney, Hazel, and Eagle Creek embayments will be studied as options to this alternative. The Northern Shore Corridor Alternative would include an auto-tour guide and wayside exhibit panels at pull-off areas.