In the 1940's the Tennessee Valley Authority wanted to build a hydroelectric power dam. As such they purchased or took 67,000 acres of land in Graham and Swain counties. More than 1300 families were left homeless with no relocation assistance from the government.
The government in order to appease these people promised two things: First, to reimburse Swain County for Hwy 288, which would be flooded when the lake was filled, and second to build a road around the park to give access to the more than 28 cemeteries that were left behind when these people were forced from their land.
Approximately 6 miles of the road, including a bridge and a 1,200-foot tunnel were completed by the end of 1969, but the remaining 26 miles was never finished. Many of the people, who were forced to leave their homes, are still waiting for the government to build the road to their ancestral cemeteries as promised and they were extended an olive branch, so to speak, in October 2000 when US Representative, Charles Taylor and Senator, Jesse Helms secured federal funding of $16 million toward the construction of the North Shore Road Project.
As of now it is a hotly contested debate in the area as to if the road will ever be built, should it be, or should we just take the money. Then you have to wonder who will actually get it or will it just be pissed away on things that have nothing to do with the road. The area now is mostly a hiking and tourist place, with some people using it as an art canvas. I can't say I like the theme of the picture below, but at least the person had some talent.