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National Park seeks public comment on Plant Gathering Agreement with Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians

GATLINBURG, TN - Great Smoky Mountains National Park is proposing to enter into an agreement with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) under 36 CFR Part 2.6, Final Rule on Gathering of Certain Plants or Plant Parts by Federally Recognized Indian Tribes for Traditional Purposes (Plant Gathering Rule).

Sochan (Rudbeckia laciniata) - Image courtesy of GSMNP

The Plant Gathering Rule authorizes agreements between the National Park Service and tribes to facilitate continuation of tribal cultural practices in national parks where those practices traditionally occurred. The proposed agreement would establish a management framework for sustainable gathering of sochan (Rudbeckia laciniata) by EBCI members for traditional purposes.

Prior to entering into the agreement, the park is preparing an environmental assessment (EA). As an integral part of the National Environmental Policy Act and National Historic Preservation Act compliance processes, the park is asking for public input on matters related to the proposed action, environmental issues, potential alternatives, and sources of data that should be considered.

Park staff invite public input on the proposed agreement using the National Park Service’s Planning, Environment, and Public Comment website and following the link titled “Sochan Gathering for Traditional Purposes” at or by US Mail to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, ATTN: Environmental Planning and Compliance, 107 Park Headquarters Road, Gatlinburg, TN 37738.

The public scoping period is open through August 17, 2018.

Published August 12, 2018

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