Tapoco Relicensing Agreement designates restrictions
along Highway 129
Camping restrictions along a portion of Highway 129 will begin March 1 when Alcoa Power Generating Inc.’s (APGI) new federal license for its hydropower project takes effect.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) relicensed APGI’s four Tapoco hydroelectric facilities earlier this month. The four hydroelectric developments in Tennessee and North Carolina are: Chilhowee, Calderwood, Cheoah and Santeetlah. The relicensing agreement calls for the protection of portions of Alcoa’s land, including a stretch along Highway 129 in Blount County.
“Our goal is to provide a family-oriented recreation area,” said Robert Smet, APGI’s Environmental and Natural Resources Manager. “Some of the activity associated with the camping that historically occurred in these areas was not consistent with that goal.”
Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) will be responsible for enforcing the camping restrictions. The no camping area is adjacent to Chilhowee Reservoir and Highway 129 between Chilhowee Dam and Tabcat Creek.
“Although the land belongs to Alcoa, it is property we are responsible for managing by agreement,” said Dan Gibbs, TWRA supervisor for the Foothills and Tellico areas. “It is a popular area, but the trash left behind by campers has created a negative image that we’d like to avoid for our visitors.”
Those portions of the land designated as “no camping areas” will be appropriately identified.