Bryson halts sewer connections outside town limits

By Julia Merchant • Staff Writer

Developers in Swain County eyeing a quick, easy connection to Bryson City’s sewer system for their newly built properties are out of luck — at least for now. Bryson’s town board is currently denying sewer services to anyone that lives outside of the immediate town limits.

The essential nature of winter

When late November finally arrives, my wife, Elizabeth, and I go into another mode. Her busy season in the gallery-studio she operates here on the town square in Bryson City pretty much comes to an end. The Elderhostel programs, workshops and lectures that keep me on the road from mid-March into November come to an abrupt halt. From now until early spring we get to spend more time together at our home place in a little cove four miles west of town. Winter is our time of the year.

New mayor embraces new face of Bryson City

By Julia Merchant • Staff Writer

The election of Brad Walker, Bryson City’s new mayor, is more than just a changing of the guard — it’s representative of how the tiny Swain County town has transformed in recent years from a remote location in the Smokies to a much sought-after tourist destination.

Parking problems plague downtown Bryson City

By Julia Merchant • Staff Writer

Entire half hours dedicated to finding a parking space. Cars backing into each other. Employees and customers with nowhere to park. The parking situation in Bryson City is reaching crisis levels, and local business owners are pleading for the town to help them.

Bryson City seeks citizen input in land-use plan

Want to build anything you want in a downtown location that receives a ton of visitors each summer? Then Bryson City, with its total lack of rules governing development, is just the place for you.

Swain leaders tout river access, horse ring upgrades

Not that many years ago, anglers and boaters wanting to gain access to the Tuckasegee River in Swain County essentially had to bushwhack their way to the water.

Peaceful sounds: Bryson City woman organizes local musicians for a cause

By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer

Downtown Sylva will host a non-partisan stand for peace on Saturday, Feb. 17, with 12 hours of non-stop music.

Recesses in nature: Bryson City group sets up new caving club

By Michael Beadle

There are still dark corners in this world yet to be explored.

The road ends here

If Congressman Charles Taylor is defeated in two weeks, it could spell the end of plans to build a road through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park outside Bryson City.

What is the North Shore Road?

The North Shore Road is proposed to go through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park from Bryson City to Tennessee along the north shore of Lake Fontana. The area was not always backcountry, however. It was once home to mining and logging towns and farming communities until the construction of Lake Fontana to generate hydropower for the World War II effort.

The lake flooded some communities and isolated others by flooding the only road in and out. With a war on, the government could not afford to build a new road on higher ground. So more than 200 families living in the suddenly isolated region were forced to evacuate. The land was ceded to the park service.

At the time, the government promised to rebuild the road. It signed a legal contract pledging to do so, but hasn’t yet. Families who sacrificed their homes for the war effort believe the government should uphold its promise.


What is the cash settlement?

A group of Swain County residents fed up with the long-standing debate developed an idea several years ago for the federal government to pay a cash settlement in lieu of building the road.

Their premise: like it or not, the road will never be built. Congress will never appropriate and the funds, and even if it did, lawsuits by environmental groups would stop it from happening anyway. So they began lobbying for a cash settlement of $52 million for Swain County, an idea that has gained wide popularity.

The $52 million price for a cash settlement is the accumulated interest on the cost of the road. At the time the road was flooded in 1943, the county owed $694,000 for its construction. Even though the road was flooded, the county spent another 30 years paying off the debt on the worthless road. The cash settlement would compensate the county for the loss of the road.

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