Road to Nowhere

In the 1930s and ’40s, Swain County and its residents were forced to give up their land to the Federal Government for the creation of Fontana Lake and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Hundreds of people were forced to leave their homes and land that had been in their families for generations. In creating Fontana Lak, the only road, Old Highway 288 was submerged in water, blocking all access to family cemeteries and old homesteads. The government promised to replace Highway 288 with a new road. Lakeview Drive was to have stretched along the Northern Shore of Fontana Lake, from Bryson City, 30 miles west to Fontana. After only 6 short miles, the construction of Lakeview Drive screeched to a halt in the discovery of various environmental issues. They were deemed too expensive to battle, therefore construction never restarted. Eventually, in 2010, the US Department of Interior signed a settlement agreement awarding Swain County 52 million dollars in lieu of building the road. A sum which many locals would say is nowhere near enough.

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