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Cherokees to fund impact study of gathering sochan, an edible flower, in Great Smoky Mountains NP

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is taking a step towards its members being able to legally gather sochan in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  During an Annual Council meeting on Monday, Oct. 9, Tribal Council allocated funds, not to exceed $68,100, for an EA (environmental assessment) on such gathering which is part of the process towards the Tribe entering into an agreement with the Park.

The National Park Service (NPS) approved changes to 36 CFR Part 2 (Gathering of Certain Plants or Parts by Federally Recognized Tribes for Traditional Purposes) in late June 2016.  Tribes must enter into agreements with NPS and must have a “traditional association to lands within the national park and the plants must be gathered only for traditional purposes”.  The EA is required with a FONSI (finding of no significant impact).


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