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Sochan Gathering for Traditional Purposes-General Agreement Amendment 1

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials invite the public to comment on a proposed amendment to the Plant Gathering Agreement with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI). The Park and EBCI entered the agreement on March 25, 2019 to allow up to 36 permitted members of EBCI to gather and remove portions of the spring leaves of sochan plants (Rudbeckia laciniata) from the park using traditional means.

Park and EBCI staff completed a review of traditional gathering activities conducted in 2019 and identified three possible amendments to improve the agreement: 1) allowing permitted tribal members the choice of gathering either a portion of the sochan leaf known as the turkey foot or gathering whole sochan leaves; 2) clarifying text regarding gathering activities near visitor centers, trailheads, campgrounds, and picnic areas; and 3) establishing a sochan research area that would be off limits to gathering. The attached document provides additional details of the proposed amendment and analysis of potential environmental impacts.

The public comment period is open through January 12, 2020. The National Park Service prefers that you submit comments using the Comment Now button on this page. Comments may also be submitted by mail at the address provided below The Park Superintendent will make a decision regarding the proposed amendments after considering all public comments on the proposed amendments to the General Agreement. Please note that the Park previously held a public comment period for the original General Agreement and EA, and considered all comments received prior to issuing the FONSI. The Park is only soliciting comments on the proposed amendments at this time.

Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that under provisions of the Freedom of Information Act the entire comment, including your personal identifying information, may be made publicly available at any time. Although you may ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we would have the legal authority to do so.
 
Comment Period: Closed        12/12/2019 - 01/12/2020
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