Great Smoky Mountains National Park is seeking the public’s input on a draft corridor management plan for Newfound Gap Road. The development of the plan is required for park officials to seek designation for the road as a National Scenic Byway which opens up opportunities to the park and gateway communities to compete for special grants that enhance the travel corridor.
The draft Newfound Gap Road Scenic Byway Corridor Management Plan has been posted on the National Park Service Planning, Environment and Public Comment website for public review and comment at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/grsm Comments received during the 30-day review period, ending February 24, 2017, will be considered in the development of the final plan.
Newfound Gap Road is already a designated state scenic highway in both Tennessee and North Carolina. Park officials believe that Newfound Gap Road also meets the qualifications necessary to be designated as a National Scenic Byway. The first step in the eligibility process for this national designation is the preparation of a corridor management plan that addresses a variety of roadway attributes including the visitor experience and sustainability as a scenic byway.
Corridor management plans serve to guide the management of scenic byways to protect the important qualities associated with the byway. These are not decision making documents such as those prepared under the National Environmental Policy Act which typically evaluate a specific proposal or a set of alternatives for decision. Rather, corridor management plans provide an overarching framework for future planning.
Specifically, the park is interested in learning the following from the public:
1) if there are significant visitor experiences available to visitors traveling Newfound Gap Road that have not been considered and what those experiences are, and
2) if there are additional steps or strategies that should be considered that would help maintain the outstanding qualities of this corridor.
View and comment on draft plan online at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/grsm. Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment (including your personal identifying information) is subject to the Freedom of Information Act and may be made publicly available. While you may request in your comment to withhold your personal identifying from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will legally be able to do so.
For more information on National Scenic Byways, please visit https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/byways/byways.