Sunday, October 16, 2011

October 14, 2011. Cherohala Skyway From Tellico Plains, TN, To Robbinsville, NC.

Friday morning, the Hawthornes awoke to a beautiful, sunny day. We're traveling back to North Carolina over the Cherohala Skyway today. What a difference a day makes. I'm so glad the weather decided to cooperate. Enjoy the pictures.
The Overhill Cherokee In the valley below, now inundated by Tellico Lake, were the towns of the Overhill Cherokee. These settlements were the seat of Cherokee power in the 17th and 18th centuries. They were so named during this period because traders from the Atlantic coast had to travel "over the hills" of the Appalachians to reach them. Among these towns are the old Cherokee capital of Chota and the town of Tanasi, after which the river and the state are named. The sites of these two towns have been preserved as memorials to the Cherokee people and can be visited today.
They Took It All Between 1900 and 1930 ALL the forest you see before you was privately owned and commercially logged. Every tree that could be used for saw timber, railroad ties, fence posts, pulp wood for paper products, or bark for tanning acid, was cut and removed by timber companies whose sole interest was profit. The result was ecological devastation. The huge amount of cut wood left over fueled catastrophic fires never before seen in the entire Southern Appalachian Mountains. Soils which took thousands of years to form were washed away in a matter of years and, with no forest canopy to retain the rainwater, the valleys below were subjected to disastrous flooding. Appalled by this rampant environmental destruction, the people of the United States pleaded for the protection of their dwindling forests and their resources. Their efforts were rewarded with the passage of the Weeks Law in 1911 which authorized the acquisition of this and other private lands and the creation of the national forests in the Eastern United States. From the beginning, as it still is today, the primary purpose of the Forest Service has been to restore the forest canopy, protect the watershed, and maintain and enrich the ecological diversity of all that you see before you.
Canary of the Forest Just as the canary warned workers of impending danger in the mine, a thriving black bear population reflects overall health in the forest. Bears require a large and healthy forest ecosystem to survive. A black bear's territory can be as large as 25 square miles. In these remote and rugged mountains, the 28,000 acre Tellico Bear Reserve has been established, where bears can find food, shelter, and escape from human influence. Bears wander these woods. It is not uncommon to find their signs or even catch a glimpse of a bear in this reserve.
I want one of these.

1 comment:

Marilyn said...

Beautiful pictures. I love the Appalachian mountains.