Sunday, September 19, 2010

Fontana Dam and Joyce Kilmer Forest

Marker at the Fontana Dam site

During the week at Sapphire Valley, we took a day trip into Graham County to visit Fontana Dam and Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest.

This amazing hydroelectric dam was built under the Tennessee Valley Authority in only 36 months beginning in 1942.  Construction was rushed to completion by a Victory Campaign in the United States while WWII was underway in other parts of the world.  The dam rises 480 feet tall, 2,365 feet long, and holds back water in a reservoir that extends 29 miles.  The visitor center there shows construction pictures and displays the previous facts.  One picture showed a bulldozer and its operator.  The information described the worker as a Cherokee Indian and went on to explain how several Indians were hired from the descendants of Cherokees who hid in these mountains to avoid the Trail of Tears in the early 1800's when the government attempted to move all Indians onto reservations.

We hiked two miles along trails in Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest and saw dozens of poplar trees as big as 7 feet in diameter.  See the pictures below and enlarge them for easier reading.

Have a good week!

The top of the dam has a road for cars and trucks to drive along.

The reservoir stretches 29 miles

480 feet tall

Click to enlarge and read about Joyce Kilmer


I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of Robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

by Joyce Kilmer


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