PDA

View Full Version : North Shore Road on 2/15 NPR All Things Considered



Philip Jones
02-15-2006, 11:26
A story about the proposed North Shore Road in the Smokies will be airing on All Things Considered on National Public Radio this afternoon. The teaser I heard this morning quoted a resident talking about the cemeteries -- so it will be interesting to hear NPR's spin on the project.

THURSDAY is the day they read listeners' letters on the air. So, if you're unhappy with how they portray the project, email them tonight at [email protected] If enough of us write to say that this is a boondoggle, there's a chance one of the letters could be read on the air tomorrow. So, put your media critic hats on.

I'll post a link to the online audio archive when it becomes available.

Also, here's a Washington Post article about the road from last May. I looked through the other threads on this topic and didn't see a link to it. It mostly focuses on a woman whose family was displaced by the lake and who now wants the road built.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/04/26/AR2005042601151.html

Phil

lobster
02-15-2006, 11:56
That link isn't working.

Max Power
02-15-2006, 12:23
I have read, by way of this forum, that the NPS offers a free boat shuttle to the trail that leads to the cemeteries. I would really like to know if this is true.
Thanks for the heads up. I will be sure to listen.

Max Power
02-15-2006, 19:16
Here it is! (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5218050)
I am at work so I can't listen, but I will check it out when I get home.

Hikerhead
02-15-2006, 19:42
To build the road would cost 600 million, the gov offered 52 million as a cash settlement. Bump it up to a 100 million cash settlement and the gov still saves 500 million.

Were the families forced to move given a cash settlement or were they like booted from their homes with hardly nothing like in the SNP? Both took place at about the same time.

Almost There
02-15-2006, 19:45
The Gov't hasn't offered anything yet, they are still considering all proposals. That's the crux. The feeling is if they do offer the 52 mil it will be accepted.

sliderule
02-15-2006, 19:57
I have read, by way of this forum, that the NPS offers a free boat shuttle to the trail that leads to the cemeteries.

That is true. Not necessarily on an on-demand basis. But there are scheduled trips to some of the cemeteries during the summer. The NPS also takes a van or small bus over to the Hazel Creek Trail on a barge (across Fontana Lake) so they can drive the cemetery visitors up the Hazel Creek Trail, etc.
The trips are not well publicized, but it is my understanding that anyone is welcome to go. Although the NPS might frown on hikers looking for a free shuttle while using the pretense of visiting their dearly departed friends and family members.

Chip
02-15-2006, 20:22
For updated info visit www.NorthShoreRoad.info/comments.htm (http://www.NorthShoreRoad.info/comments.htm)

The North Shore Road DEIS is available for viewing at http://www.northshoreroad.info/documents.htm

Hope this helps answer questions Whiteblazers may have. I think all of us hope for the cash settlement to be paid out. In the "big picture" I can't see where the government can afford to build such a road at such a high cost to the people of this country both in money and the environment of the GSMNP. Wasted money and another loss of a natural resource.

I believe the recent resurrection of this issue is nothing more than a political maneuver. I will keep the remainder of this thought to myself.
:)

Philip Jones
02-15-2006, 20:37
I just heard the story. Similar storyline to the Post: both start with a hike to a cemetery with an elderly resident and then have a much briefer encounter with someone against the road. At least the anti-road representative that NPR interviewed wasn't a member of a fringe environmental group. (Why the Post reporter thought it would "balance" the story to talk to an Earth First member, of all people, I don't know.) Why are both of these media outlets using the main pro-road argument as the centerpiece of their story?

I'm not personally familiar with the details of the 1943 agreement, but here's what hiker33 had to say in the North Shore Road thread:

"...the pro-road folks are emphasing access to the cemeteries as the reason for building the road. In actuality, the 1943 Agreement makes no mention of cemeteries. It is a matter of record that the families involved were given the opportunity to have the graves relocated at government expense. Those who declined were told at the time that future access would be very difficult. The actual purpose of the road in the 1943 Agreement was to replace the flooded-out highway and restore access to Bryson City from the west. This purpose was essentially fulfilled by the construction of NC 28 on the south side of the lake."

According NPR, Rep. Charles Taylor's proposal to build the road would cost $600 million. That's crazy, considering the chronic maintenance backlog (including trails) in GSMNP and all national parks. If Congress is going to spend $600 million, it should be directed to the areas that have made GSMNP the most heavily-visited national park in the first place.

Max Power
02-15-2006, 21:55
I was just going to point out that it was mentioned twice in this story that the road was "in part" to provide access to the cemeteries. I knew this wasn't in the agreement, and read it again to make sure. I still didn't find it in their!
If a road must be built (which I don't believe will happen) let convince them to build a large bridge over the lake and then a short road to the grave. That way we don't have this mass intrusion through the Smokies. I'm just thinking out loud, please don't think I am advocating anything to be built. Heck, lets just move the graves... I better stop here.

Philip Jones
02-15-2006, 22:07
I also noticed that...how hard is it for NPR to fact-check, anyway? It's not like this is a fast-breaking story.

The more emails NPR gets, the greater the chance one will be read on the air. Good basic talking points are here (http://www.safc.org/campaigns/north_shore_road_points.php).

Here's my letter, just sent:

From: "Philip Jones"
To: [email protected]
Date: Wed, 15 Feb 2006 20:55:31 -0500
Subject: Letter on "Road to Nowhere"

Adam Hochberg's piece on "The Road to Nowhere" in Great Smoky Mountains National Park was regrettably framed as a human-interest story about access to cemeteries, rather than what is actually is: a policy decision with a $600 million dollar price tag. This may make a good storyline, but it isn't good reporting. Cemetery access was /not/ part of the original 1943 agreement, despite NPR stating so twice! The road's huge environmental costs, practical shortcomings, political motivations, and fiscal impacts all became a sideshow to a PR-style emotional appeal about cemeteries.

Philip Jones
Silver Spring, Maryland

Newb
02-15-2006, 23:15
Wouldn't it be cheaper to just move the graves?

smokymtnsteve
02-15-2006, 23:28
hate to break to U guys but automobile clubs were very important in the formation of the GSMNP.

and automobile visitors FAR outnumber hikers both in numbers and dollars spent..most visitors to the smokies spend less than an hour outside of thier automobile...so building the road will allow more visitation to the smokies not to count the $$$ these tourist will spend in the gateway cities.

Cookerhiker
02-16-2006, 10:24
Somehow I doubt that the beneficiaries of this road are hard-scrabble mountain folk who yearn to visit their ancestors' graves. Who owns the nearby lands now? I've heard that Congressman Taylor who's pushing the project is the largest landowner in the county.

Chip
02-16-2006, 11:14
hate to break to U guys but automobile clubs were very important in the formation of the GSMNP.

and automobile visitors FAR outnumber hikers both in numbers and dollars spent..most visitors to the smokies spend less than an hour outside of thier automobile...so building the road will allow more visitation to the smokies not to count the $$$ these tourist will spend in the gateway cities.

I understand your point. Right now I would say those gateways are Cherokee and Gatlinburg and Hwy 441 is the main road thru GSMNP. 600 million dollars is a huge amount of money to build a 32 mile, 2 lane road that will destroy a large area in the Smokies (if built). I wonder when was the last time the US government spent 600 million dollars on such a small section of road ?? Could this be a political maneuver to "snow job" both sides... in other words.... have those who want the road believe that it can be built and those who don't want the road push for the settlement ... with the settlement being approved because the darn road has no chance to be built because of the overwhelming cost. The politicians knew this before and know it now. Even with the settlement the politicians come to be heroes who have finally solved this issue. It will still be a political victory for them one way or another. This is just an "off the wall" view,
food for thought. :-?

Rain Man
02-17-2006, 00:57
... by making it all about the old "promise" and "visiting cemeteries."

Nowhere were "road builders" or other profiteers mentioned, even though they've had a role to play.

Nor did NPR mention that the NPS already provides boat rides for any family member wanting to visit a grave site.

It was the old magician's trick of "look at THIS hand, not the hand doing the trick." NPR screwed up.

Rain:sunMan

.