Graham County

GRAHAM COUNTY

 

Graham County is situated on the North Carolina border with Tennessee. It was formed in 1872 from the northeastern corner of Cherokee County. The last census found it to be the third-least populous county in North Carolina. Two-thirds of the county is the Nantahala National Forest and it boasts elevations ranging from 1,177 to 5,560.

Fontana Lake forms most of the border of the county and is the location of the tallest dam in the eastern United States, Fontana Dam. The dam also has the distinction of being a portion of the Appalachian Trail with part of the trail located on top of the structure.

Even with all the beauty surrounding this mountain oasis, there are challenges. Broadband and connectivity are the source of the problem with many issues. Without reliable connectivity via cell phone or internet, access to health care is limited as there is intermittent cell service; without internet in the home, many students are challenged in their studies – a perfect opportunity to explore the Homework Gap concept; workforce training is hampered and jobs that require knowledge of technology are not available; and contact with rescue and fire services is seldom certain. 

Although obstacles do exist, members of the community work together focusing on revitalization of main street; creating a heritage and education center; forming organizations with the objective of providing the basic humanitarian needs; and rallying around those who have gotten caught up in the opioid crisis.