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Those who use the Blue Ridge Parkway often stop and stay in the area to enjoy more of the hospitality that we have to offer.

Both the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Cherohala Skyway are proof that we can protect and maintain our natural resources while making them accessible to the public. Construction of the North Shore Road should not be an either/or situation between protecting the environment and growing the economy. We can have both. Visitors to western North Carolina leave with a greater appreciation of the beauty of our region and the abundance of natural resources we offer. These visitors often return again and again, often for longer stays, and they share their experiences with others who then decide to pay us a visit. This increase in tourism only benefits when we protect the environment and it will provide an economic base from which Swain County can grow.

Senator Kyl. Well, thank you very much, Representative Taylor.

I would just note that in your comment that 85 percent of the county is owned by the Federal Government certainly strikes a chord with me because 85 percent of Arizona is owned by government, county, State, Federal, or Indian tribes. That creates some very special challenges to our school system, for example, and a lot of other concerns.

So, I appreciate the difficulty that that creates, and I think you have certainly made a case for the U.S. Congress helping the Federal Government to keep a commitment that it made a long time ago.

I appreciate your testimony very much.
Senator FAIRCLOTH. Senator?
Senator KYL. Senator Faircloth?

Mr. TAYLOR. May I return? We have a vote in the House and I would like to

Senator Kyl. Absolutely, and I was going to say that all three of you are certainly welcome to sit at the dais here.

Senator FAIRCLOTH. A very brief statement.

I have heard wilderness, wilderness, wilderness. You take any park, Maricopa County, Manhattan Island, you move all the people out and tear the buildings down and abandon it for 50 years, and you will have you another wilderness area. So, you can create a wilderness most anywhere.

Thank you.

Senator HELMS. Amen.
Senator KYL. Thank you, Senator Faircloth.
Senator HELMS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Senator Kyl. You bet. Thank you both. Again, if you should be able to return and sit at the dais, you are more than welcome.

Our second panel consists of one witness, Ms. Mary Bradford, Associate Director for Administration of the National Park Service, and she is going to be accompanied by Phil Francis, the Assistant Superintendent of the Great Smoky Mountains Park. We are delighted to have you here too.

If you do not mind the double standard, I would like now to begin enforcing what we call the 5-minute rule in which both Senators and witnesses are requested to speak for no longer than 5 minutes at a time. If you can summarize your testimony to that degree, I would appreciate it very much.

With that, we are delighted to have you here. Thank you for being a witness.

STATEMENT OF MARY BRADFORD, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR FOR

ADMINISTRATION, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, ACCOMPANIED BY PHILIP A. FRANCIS, JR., ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT, GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK

Ms. BRADFORD. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate the opportunity to appear before you today to present the views of the Department of the Interior on S. 987, the Swain County Settlement Act.

We support section 2(c)(2), which requires a financial settlement with Swain County, but we do continue to strongly oppose completion of the road along the north shore of Fontana Reservoir as required by section 2(c)(1). This provision, if enacted, would gravely affect the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Mr. Chairman, it has already been articulated how this issue dates back to 1943, and I will not cover that ground again about the agreement which resulted in the creation of Fontana Lake. But we did conduct engineering studies in preparation for construction of a replacement road. Those studies revealed that construction and maintenance of a road at this site would be technically very difficult, extremely expensive, and environmentally damaging.

Now, in the mid-1960's the Park Service did begin construction of the replacement road, but the work was soon halted because of severe environmental problems.

Now, part of this bill requires the Secretary to complete the road along the north shore of Fontana Reservoir. We do support the $16 million payment in lieu of the road, but we continue to oppose completion of the road, which would be about 20 miles long, because it would require many cuts and fills and stream crossings and could damage some ecologically sensitive areas.

It would also be very expensive. Our latest rough cost estimate for construction of the road is $136 million, and that is based, by the way, on the experience that we received in analyzing the construction costs of the Tellico Road referred to by the first panel in their testimony.

The ongoing maintenance of the road would put an additional strain on the already overburdened maintenance division of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and we estimate those costs at about $100,000 annually.

The addition of the road would also increase visitor protection costs to the park because it would have to be patrolled 7 days a week, and we think that cost would be around $120,000 annually.

One of the purposes and chief purpose of the road, we have been told, is to provide additional access to cemeteries in the Hazel Creek area of the park. We do agree that access is needed and should be available to those who wish to visit cemeteries, honoring the original agreement from 1943. For that reason, the park does provide access by boat and truck to the cemeteries right now. We have a policy to allow that and that policy will continue at this park.

Generally we are running around a dozen visits. Over a summer we have had approximately 400 or so visit the cemeteries this year. A couple of more groups are scheduled to visit the cemeteries, and we intend to continue providing access, ingress and egress, to the site, by those who wish to visit.

We reaffirmed that, the Department of the Interior did, in a 1980 letter, an agreement with officials of Swain County, that we will provide access over the long term. As a demonstration of our commitment to that access, we spent close to $450,000 in 1992 to replace five deteriorated bridges along the Hazel Creek trail which leads from the shore of the lake to several cemeteries. Those bridges were built as vehicular bridges rather than as much cheaper foot bridges solely to provide this access. Because we already provide access to the cemeteries, we believe completion of the North Shore Road, in addition to be exorbitantly expensive and damaging, is also unnecessary.

But there is an alternative, and we agree to settle this claim to the payment of approximately $16 million to Swain County.

We have a couple of technical amendments to section 2(c)(2) which requires the Secretary of the Treasury to convey this payment. We would like to suggest two technical amendments. One is that the bill be amended to direct the Secretary of the Interior to make the payment rather than Treasury. There really is no need to involve the Secretary of the Treasury in that payment.

Senator KYL. Excuse me. Might I just interrupt?
Ms. BRADFORD. Yes.

Senator KYL. Is that out of earmarked funds from the Department of the Interior then?

Ms. BRADFORD. Well, the second piece would be that we would have to make it, of course, subject to appropriations, and we would request that be added as well to that section.

We have a longstanding position in favor of a fair financial settlement. The $16 million formula was reached based on the original claim at a 5 percent annual interest rate plus some other factors, which are included in the written statement. And we do support the settlement.

The last provision of the bill directs the Secretary to place a suitable historical marker at Soco Gap in honor of the Cherokee presence in that area. Although we have not done any studies related to that issue, we would have no objection to placing such a marker if a study indicated it was appropriate.

Mr. Chairman, that concludes my remarks.

As you mentioned earlier, I am accompanied today by Phil Francis, who is the Assistant Superintendent of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and he and I would both be pleased to answer any questions you may have. [The prepared statement of Ms. Bradford follows:) PREPARED STATEMENT OF MARY BRADFORD, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR FOR

ADMINISTRATION, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I appreciate the opportunity to appear before you today to present the views of the Department of the Interior on S. 987, the Swain County Settlement Act. We support Sec. 2(c)2) of S. 987 which requires a financial settlement with Swain County, North Carolina, but we strongly oppose completion of the road along the north shore of Fontana Reservoir as required by Sec. 2(cX1) of this bill. This legislation, if enacted, would gravely affect the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which is among the most ecologically important and most visited parks in the National Park System.

Mr. Chairman, this issue dates back to 1943, when Swam County, North Carolina entered into a agreement with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), the Department of the Interior, and the State of North Carolina. Under that agreement, the Department of the Interior consented to build a road to replace North Carolina

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Highway 288, which was flooded by Fontana Reservoir when TVA constructed Fontana Dam to generate hydroelectric power. The electrical power was needed at the time to supply weapons production facilities for World War II.

The National Park Service (NPS) conducted engineering studies in preparation for construction of the replacement road. Those studies revealed that construction and maintenance of a road at this site would be technically very difficult, extremely expensive, and environmentally damaging. In the mid-1960s, the NPS began construction of the replacement road, but the work was soon halted because of severe envi. ronmental problems.

Sec. 2(cX1) of S. 987 requires the Secretary of the Interior to complete this road along the north shore of Fontana Reservoir. We continue to oppose completion of the road, which would be about 20 miles long, and would require many cuts and fills and stream crossings. Construction of the road in this ecologically-sensitive area is expected to cause long-term, possibly irreparable, damage to water quality and fish habitat in park streams and Fontana Reservoir due to siltation and acid leach. ing. Our latest rough cost estimate for construction of the road is $136 million, and ongoing maintenance of the road would put an additional strain on the already overburdened maintenance division at Great Smoky Mountain National Park. We estimäte maintenance costs per mile for the North Shore Road would be approximately $100,000 annually. The addition of the road would also increase visitor protection costs to the park by about $121,560 annually,

The purpose of the replacement road would be to provide access to cemeteries in the Hazel Creek area of the park. We agree that access is needed and should be available to those who wish to visit the cemeteries. For that reason, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park provides access by boat and truck to the cemeteries. The cemetery policies that apply to Great Smoky Mountains National Park and other National Park Service units were established by the Director on September 29, 1961. The policy enables parks to permit free ingress and egress by relatives and friends; permits burials of relatives if space is available; and permits friends and relatives to maintain the cemeteries. It also allows expenditure of funds for National Park Service maintenance. Under this policy, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park provides the North Shore Cemetery Association with boat transportation across Fontana Reservoir and also provides ground transportation for cemetery visits. Generally, 11 visits to the cemeteries take place each summer. This policy was confirmed by Secretary Andrus in a 1980 letter to the Swain County Commission and was included in the park's General Management Plan in 1982. As an affirmation that the NPS remains committed to providing that access over the long term, the NPS spent $449,000 in 1992 to replace five deteriorated bridges along the Hazel Creek Trail which leads from the shore of Fontana Lake to several cemeteries. These bridges were built as vehicular bridges rather than as much cheaper footbridges solely to provide this access. Because we already provide this access to the cemeteries, we believe completion of the North Shore Road-in addition to being exorbitantly expensive and ecologically damaging—is also unnecessary.

Sec. 2(cX2) of S. 987 requires the Secretary of the Treasury to pay Swain County, North Carolina, $16 million. We support this provision of the bill with two technical amendments. First, we recommend that the bill be amended to direct the Secretary of the Interior to make the payment rather than the Secretary of the Treasury. Second, we recommend clarifying that the Secretary of the Interior shall pay, to the extent and in the manner provided in advance in appropriations acts. There is no legal impediment to the Secretary of the Interior making the payment and no need for the involvement of the Secretary of the Treasury.

The Department of the Interior has a long-standing position in favor of fair financial reimbursement to Swain County. In fact, then-Secretary of the Department of the Interior Andrus agreed, on November 28, 1980, to reimbursement for Swain County based on the net present value of the road that had been flooded. The NPS arrived at a figure for reimbursement by taking the amount of Swain County's origi, nal debt for the cost of Highway 288 ($1.7 million) in 1940 when bonds on the road were issued; subtracting the $400,000 paid by the TVA to the county; and then compounding the interest on the remaining $1.3 million at a rate of live percent. Since Secretary Andrus' declaration, the Department has continued to support settlement of this matter through reimbursement to the county. However, such a payment to Swain County requires authorization and appropriation of funds.

Section 3 of S. 987 directs the Secretary to allocate funds and personnel necessary to place a suitable historical marker at or near the approach to the Cherokee Qualla Reservation at Soco Gap. We have done no historical studies of Soco Gap, but we would not object to placing a marker there is a study indicated that it is appropriate. The Blue Ridge Parkway runs through Soco Gap and no special authorization is necessary for us to erect an informational sign on the parkway.

Mr. Chairman, this concludes my remarks. I will be pleased to answer any questions you or other members of the committee may have.

Senator Kyl. Thank you.

You answered the one question I had regarding financing. The only other question I had is if the road is not constructed, would you commit-can you commit the Park Service to continue to provide the kind of access to the cemeteries that has been provided, number one.

Number two, could you indicate whether there is a possibility that the mode of transportation might be improved somewhat for those, particularly the elderly, who may wish to use it?

Ms. BRADFORD. Yes. The answer to question number one is that we do commit to continue to provide access in perpetuity, as long as anybody desires access into those cemeteries.

And the answer to question number two we have discussed. We hope to improve the type of access that has been provided in the past, and we are in fact improving the route in there to make it less bumpy, easier to access.

I do not know if you have anything additional on what the park is doing, but specifically yes.

Senator Kyl. Fine. I thank you very much for your testimony, and should you wish to submit anything else, of course, we will keep the record open and you may do that.

Ms. BRADFORD. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Senator KYL. Thank you.

Our third panel consists of Ms. Linda Hogue, Mrs. Helen Vance, Mr. Bill Lewis, and Mr. John George, the first three of North Carolina, and John George from California I think. Right?

Ms. Linda Hogue is president of the North Shore Road Association in Bryson City, North Carolina. Mrs. Helen Vance is North Shore Cemetery Association in Sylva, North Carolina. Mr. Bill Lewis is chairman of the Swain County Commissioners in Bryson City, North Carolina, and Mr. John George is of Angwin, California. Perhaps we can begin with Ms. Linda Hogue.

Ms. HOGUE. Could we begin with Mr. Bill Lewis?

Senator Kyl. That would be fine. Whatever your preference would be fine with me. Mr. Lewis. STATEMENT OF BILL LEWIS, CHAIRMAN, SWAIN COUNTY

COMMISSIONERS, BRYSON CITY, NC Mr. LEWIS. I am Bill Lewis, chairman of Swain County Commissioners.

Senator Kyl. As Senator Thurmond from South Carolina says, bring the machine closer to you.

[Laughter.]
Mr. LEWIS. Yes, sir.

We are here today to support the S. 987 agreement that Senator Helms and Senator Faircloth has put in for completion of the road and a settlement to Swain County.

I have personally been before the committees here in Washington on several occasions to try to reach agreement with the Federal Government. Many attempts for settlement of the issue have been made through the years.

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