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Fontana Lake, NC

Lake Size: 10,230 Acres
Shoreline Length (Miles): 238 Miles
Deepest Depth: 440 ft
Latitude: 35.4529
Longitude: -83.8049
Lake Level Above Sea Level: 1680 ft (512 m)
Counties: Swain County
Cities: Fontana Village
Lake Management: Tennessee Valley Authority
Water Quality:

Information: The construction of Fontana Dam led to the flooding of most of North Carolina Highway 288, which connected Deals Gap and Bryson City. The National Park Service, after gaining possession of Fontana's north shore tracts, reached an agreement with Swain County to replace the north shore road in the 1940s. By 1972, however, funding issues had continuously stalled construction, and just 7.2 miles (11.6 km) of the road had been completed (just outside of Bryson City). In the 1970s, environmental concerns completely halted the road's progress, and locals mockingly nicknamed the unfinished 7.2-mile (11.6 km) road "The Road to Nowhere". After North Carolina's U.S. Senator Jesse Helms secured funding for the road in 2000, the park service conducted an environmental impact study (released in 2007) that determined that toxins released during the road's construction would pollute nearby streams, and would thus be in violation of the park's general management plan. With the help of Congressman Heath Shuler, the park service negotiated a cash settlement with Swain County in 2007, ensuring the road will likely go unfinished.

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