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Mr. TAYLOR. Except it is not paved and it is not improved and it is not promoted, and the Park Service does not recognize it as that. But other than that, you might be right.

Mr. SNYDER. About half of it is paved.

Mr. TAYLOR. Let me go on because I am taking too much time with this.

Mr. Thornton, are you familiar with the road that goes up into the Denali National Park in Alaska which is a true wilderness? I mean, a crow has got to carry its lunch across there. There is no place to stop. It is miles and miles of wilderness. A beautiful

area, but there is a long stretch of road that goes through it. Does it not?

Mr. THORNTON. I am not familiar with it, but I know the road is there, yes.

Mr. TAYLOR. I have been there, been through it. You can stop a grizzly anywhere along the way. In fact, you have to have bear training, Senator, before you can get out along that road. Senator BURNS. I got one of the bears up there


know. Mr. TAYLOR. Well, I am talking about that road is traveled by vehicles, and they take you in. If you get out, you got bear instructions because of the grizzly and that sort of thing. What I am saying is there is nobody up there making the statement that that road is destroying the habitat and it is in a true wilderness. I know Mr. Kirby is a member of The Wilderness Society, but I

, when you look at the 1964 Act, smaller tracts of land in the East were not what the people had in mind as wilderness because it is hard to keep the animal and other criteria that folks were really thinking about in wilderness. But we will not get into that debate.

Mr. Kirby, you are talking about the road along the north shore would be destroying bear population because it would destroy the acorns. Do you have any idea how many oaks are down there in that flat area along the way around the lake, the edge of the north shore where the road would go?

Mr. KIRBY. Substantial.
Mr. TAYLOR. A lot of pine?

Mr. KIRBY. Some. According to Dr. Michael Pelton, it is a critical fall feeding area for the black bear who actually move into that area because of the density of oak.

May I add in connection with the previous inquiry that what is missing in your question is a sense of perspective. A road becomes inappropriate and damaging when there is a great scarcity of wild land. In the southern Appalachians, as the Forest Service found in the recent Southern Appalachian Assessment, 1 percent of the region is designated wilderness. Why should we scar the few remaining wild lands that are left when there are roads all over like the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Tellico Plains-Robbinsville Highway that you alluded to?

Mr. TAYLOR. We have got a lot of land being managed as wilderness, which I have a proposal on that later, Senator.

But the bear may be threatened by this. I have been along the area down there and there is not that much oak. But as Senator Helms testified, there is less than 300 acres, even if you give it a 100-foot right-of-way and the road is going to be 20 feet-there is less than 300 acres that would be used in this out of a national park that is over a half a million. It is hard to see the bear being threatened by the loss of 300 acres. And I know it is not all oak because I have been there.

But let me ask you this other question because we are going to run out of my time, if I have not already.

Senator BURNS. You can have as much time as you want.

Mr. TAYLOR. Well, the amount of illegal hunting you were mentioning. How would that increase if this is a controlled access road, a parkway road, that could even be closed, as a matter of fact, after certain hours in the evening? Would that satisfy your problem about illegal hunting?

Mr. KIRBY. Well, to tie the two answers together, the problem is not in the destruction of the trees along the roadway in terms of impact on bear. The problem is the access it provides into this critical feeding area, especially during the fall, because hunters could illegally take bear.

And that is a problem, as you know, in the southern Appalachians. One bear is poached for every bear that is taken legally.

Mr. TAYLOR. I am concerned about how this road would contribute to it. Now, folks can come across in a boat and hunt illegally and that sort of thing, and that is always a problem. But this road, if it were closed during evening hours and, of course, monitored heavily during the day—how would that contribute to illegal hunting? Do you think there would really be folks come back there in the daylight with people and rangers going and shoot bear?

Mr. KIRBY. Yes, and also people can use roads that are closed. People have off-road vehicles, three-wheel drive vehicles that are commonly used in poaching.

Mr. TAYLOR. Do they do that a lot up in Denali and places like that in the wilderness areas? Are you familiar with that being a big threat?

Mr. KIRBY. Possibly, but it certainly is a threat, sir, in the southern Appalachians.

Could I submit for the record Dr. Pelton's statement? He is the recognized expert on this issue and felt strongly enough about it to I think speak in fairly emphatic terms.

Mr. TAYLOR. 'I would have no objection, Senator.

One last question and I know this is personal, but we had this up because the professor was asked a little while ago what he made. What does The Wilderness Society pay you in gross salary? I know it is a public figure, but I do not have it in front of me.

Mr. KIRBY. I am sorry. What was the question? I was writing down the

Mr. TAYLOR. What is your gross salary that The Wilderness Society pays you? I know it is published, but I do not have it.

Mr. KIRBY. I do not believe it is published. I think it is a private matter.

Mr. TAYLOR. All right. Well, the only reason I was asking is because it was questioned here a little while ago that the professor who was here testifying, they asked if he was paid to come here and he was not. He said he came here on his own and he made his contribution on his own.

I would hazard a guess that a lot of the environmental organizations here take in hundreds of millions of dollars, and they have a vested stake in this and it may not be the best stake for the United States of America. It may be a stake that they perceive is important, and they have full right to do that.

But I wanted to make clear we have got folks here that paid to come up on their own because their families are buried there and the Government promised them a road for access. Some of them are elderly and cannot go through a pontoon boat at a limited time under harsh conditions. And they are here asking the Government to keep its commitment. They are not here for commercial value. None of them are going to get a dollar out of this. None of them are going to open any businesses. None of them are going to be in any sort of shape to profit from this. And I think their sincerity is enhanced by that type of public support.

Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the opportunity of being here.
Senator BURNS. Yes, sir, Mr. Snyder.

Mr. SNYDER. May I respond to that by telling Congressman Taylor that I have come here entirely at my own expense without any idea or hope of being reimbursed for those expenses.

Mr. TAYLOR. I am proud of you, just as I am these other folks. I appreciate it.

Senator BURNS. I have got a question here. Mr. Kirby, would you support a cash settlement and the wilderness designation and would you oppose the cash settlement to the county without a wilderness designation?

Mr. KIRBY. Both, as I understand your question. In other words, do we support a cash statement with the wilderness designation or one without?

Senator BURNS. Yes.

Mr. KIRBY. We would support a cash statement that is a settlement of the 1943 agreement and is clearly recognized as in lieu of a road across the north shore.

Senator BURNS. You know, it fascinates me on how a road degradates the environment if it is built like—you tell me if I am wrong because I do not know. I have never been there, do not propose to know one hill of beans about it. But I assume that this road goes along the shore of the lake. Is that correct?

Mr. KIRBY. It also would have to cut inland on various occasions because of the reservoir that has flooded the creeks and created a barrier.

Senator BURNS. Well, I can see that, but basically it stays just above probably the flood plain.

Mr. KIRBY. Also, sir, there are some substantial ridges right in the way of the road.

Senator BURNS. Well, there is on every road. I am familiar with mountains.

Mr. KIRBY. So, there might have to be some tunnelling, but also grade cutting and filling, yes, sir.

Senator BURNS. If that road was built the way it is supposed to be, how does that degradate the environment?

Mr. KIRBY. Well, first, as we were discussing with Mr. Taylor, it provides access into an area that is secure bear habitat where there could be illegal hunting.

Secondly, the construction of the road itself frequently causes erosion, especially in these mountains. They get some of the heaviest rainfalls in the United States, so there is gullying, there is

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ditching, there is erosion. Then even after the road is built, there is a continuing bleeding of erosion from some of these roads built in areas on fragile soils. Many of these roads have landslided.

For example, Mr. Taylor referred earlier to the Tellico PlainsRobbinsville Highway. That landslided frequently while under construction, and when you go across it, it is patched almost like a quilt from all the landslides. That is hardly a model example of road construction. I was somewhat surprised he mentioned it.

Senator BURNS. I do not know where Charlie went to.

Tell me about the topography of the land around the lake. Is it pretty steep? And tell me, has it got pretty much of a bedrock base with a lot of topsoil? Tell me about that.

Mr. KIRBY. Yes, sir. It is very steep. It comes down sharply to the reservoir and it is dissected by many drainages which result in coves

Senator BURNS. How far is the bedrock from the surface of the top of the soil?

Mr. KIRBY. It is highly variable, just like the geology of the southern Appalachians is highly variable. Sometimes there will be rock near the surface which has to be exposed as the road cuts across it. That is the problem with the anakeesta formation that has been discussed. Sometimes the soil will be very loose, almost like ball bearings, and they will come off when the road is cut across them.

Senator BURNS, I have no questions with regard to this. I always take the lead of the people that live there, the impact that it has on them.

I know that the Park Service and the folks in the State of Montana are just at loggerheads a lot of times, and sometimes they are not very good neighbors and other times they are just very good neighbors. We have some areas in Montana that are very fragile.

But I will tell you this. Out in our part of the country, they have cursed the loggers and the miners and everything that you see on television, which is all a bunch of horse crap. I want to tell you right away because I will tell you it ain't miners or cowboys or loggers that pollute. It is people. Sometimes roads lead to people. So, I understand some of your concerns with that. I actually do, but I also am concerned about access people have to cemeteries and this type thing. So, I will probably mull all this over.

We thank you for coming today and offering your testimony. We appreciate your views on that. We really do because we think there are other sides of arguments, but we will weigh it. We want to be here for people. They kind of come first as people, folks. So, I thank you very much.

Charlie is gone. I am going to be gone. So, if we have questions of any of the witnesses here today, the rest of the committee members may write you and ask questions. If you could respond both to the individual Senator and to the committee, I would appreciate that. The record will be left open.

And on that, I will say that these hearings are now closed. [Whereupon, at 4:23 p.m., the hearing was adjourned.)



October 12, 1996. Chairman, Subcommittee on Forest and Public Lands Management, Senate Commit

tee on Energy and Natural Resources, Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washing:

ton, DC. Lectori Salutem:

This is to express our opposition to S. 987 and request that this response be considered as written testimony and included as a part of the official hearing.

The County Settlement Act would provide construction of a north shore road from Bryson City to Fontana Dam along the north shore of Fontana Lake. We are opposed to this bill because:

It would destroy the wilderness on the area N of Fontana Lake.
It would provide miles of road for poachers' access.

It is a tremendous waste of money at a time when Congress is cutting funding for Parks, and would require additional expenditure of money for patrolling, maintenance, etc. by the Smoky Mountains National Park.

It is time to put this issue, around since the 1960s, to rest permanently, and declare the area a wilderness, along with other areas of the Park in TN and NC. A compromise was forged in the 80s with Swain County in the matter and a cash settlement was made in lieu of a road. Sincerely,


Bristol, TN.


Durham, NC, September 24, 1996. Forest & Public Lands Management Subcommittee, Senate Natural Resources Com

mittee, Dirksen Senate Office Building, U.S. Senate, Washington, DC. Re: S. 987, Swain County Settlement Act of 1995

DEAR SIRS: The Conservation Council of North Carolina is a statewide conservation organization with members and member groups across North Carolina. We have a long history in support of preserving the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, one of the internationally-recognized treasures of this country. It is crucial that this park be managed for its biological and scientific resources with wilderness areas fully protected. That means that no new roads should be constructed within the park.

The Conservation Council specifically opposes the road proposed for the north shore of Fontana Lake. This road has been repeatedly turned down by Congress for over 50 years, and it continues to be a bad idea that only seems to be resurrected every election season. The $16 million cash payment in this year's bill has absolutely nothing to do with the road. This bill should be summarily removed from all further consideration. Sincerely,




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