Dozens meet to discuss designating Nolichucky River Gorge “Wild and Scenic”

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ERWIN, Tenn. (WJHL) — Dozens of people came out Thursday night to learn more about an effort to make the Nolichucky River Gorge a “Wild and Scenic” designation.

The congressional act would apply to the gorge, which stretches eight miles from Poplar, North Carolina to Erwin, Tennessee.

It would prevent the river from being dammed or diverted, and it would guard against development that could be harmful to the gorge.

“If it’s not designated wild and scenic, then it kind of opens the door for private development, condos, restaurants, things like that,” said river guide Jonathan Holley. “We wouldn’t want to see any of that stuff inside of the gorge. One of the main attractions of the gorge is how it’s very wild area. You don’t see anything man-made in the entire gorge except for the railroads.”

The wild and scenic designation would not affect private property.

But some private property owners have expressed concerns about the impact of the designation.

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