Spotlight: EA, Traditional Sochan Gathering, Great Smoky Mountains National Park
November 20, 2018
Vernadero Group Inc. has developed an Environmental Assessment for the National Park Service to examine the possible impacts of gathering sochan (Rudbeckia laciniata), also known as green-headed coneflower, from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee and North Carolina. Sochan is a traditional food of the Cherokee people, who have harvested the plant throughout their history. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park contains populations of sochan that lie within land once occupied by the Cherokee people. The Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians wishes to enter into an agreement with the National Park Service per Title 36 Code of Federal Regulations Part 2.6, Gathering of Certain Plants or Plant Parts by Federally Recognized Indian Tribes for Traditional Purposes, to gather sochan from the park. A portion of the plant's leaves would be picked in early spring using traditional and sustainable low-impact gathering methods by a limited number of members of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians. In developing the Environmental Assessment, Vernadero assessed the impacts on sochan within the park. Vernadero will prepare the Finding of No Significant Impact if one is warranted and will compile an Administrative Record.