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Old 01-18-2013, 03:25 PM
Don Kirk Don Kirk is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 198
Default Zip line needed for summer fishing access

I’m drawing on memory, so I may not have it exactly correct, but as I recall US 441 is special in that when the national park was created, the charter for the park contained specific provisions that this route had to be maintained and open to traffic as it was before the NPS took control. The same is true of the highway from the Sugarlands to Townsend. Part of that provision also prohibits the NPS from charging admission to the GSMNP via these routes, something they do at other national parks like Yellowstone. While the NPS will probably drag its feet in fixing the road—as opposed to the haste that would be applied to an I-40 landslide, it will be fixed—hopefully better than their promises for the old North Road. In hindsight the states should have attached more strings when they pony-ed, but it is what it is.
Regarding the Anakeesta exposure and the potential problems it may cause, I suppose that it is of some concern. When the first modern road was created there, cutting into the Anakeesta and exposing it was just the beginning of the problem. The big problem then was that the waste (which included the Anakeesta substrate) was crushed and used as fill during the construction of US 441. This greatly multiplied the acrid leeching process that impacted the streams. Back in the 1970s when the new road from TN to Robbinsville was under construction, there was a better understanding of the inherent problems of road construction where there is significant iron/acid substrate. When the road was cut through “hot spots,” on that particular project, at the behest of Dr. Bowers at the University of Tennessee School of Geology, much of potentially harmful fill was hauled away to prevent it from leeching into these mountain streams where there was no way to buffer its impact. As I recall, it took a hellva fight to get that done.
One can only guess when and how the NPS plans is to fix US 441, but I am confident that it will include preventative measures to minimize problems associated with Anakeesta. This is not to say that acid rock resulting from the slide will not impact the river for a period of time, but I seriously doubt it will be as it was in the old days. These rivers have bounced back from worse beatings than this one.
Perhaps a zip line might work until the road is fixed. I tried one last summer--pretty neat way to get from point A to point B.
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