A total of 36 permits will be available for EBCI (Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians) tribal members to gather sochan in Great Smoky Mountains National Park this spring. The gathering season will run from March 1 to May 31 and allow each permittee to gather up to one bushel of sochan per week.
Only enrolled EBCI members with a 2020 permit may gather sochan in the Park. In order to receive a permit, you must 1) submit an application by Feb. 5 and 2) attend a half-hour training with EBCI and Park staff to review details of the gathering agreement. Training dates are as follows:
* Thursday, Feb. 6 at 12 p.m., Cherokee Choices Classroom (downtown Cherokee)
* Thursday, Feb. 6 at 5 p.m., Cherokee Choices Classroom (downtown Cherokee)
* Monday, Feb. 10 at 5 p.m., Cornsilk Center (Snowbird)
If more applicants complete the training than there are permits available, permits will be awarded based on the order in which applications were submitted.
Applications are available on the EBCI Natural Resources website (https://cherokeenaturalresources.com/sochan-gathering/) and can be returned to Maria Dunlavey at email@example.com or handed in at the Brad Building (1840 Painttown Road). Hard copy forms are also available at the Brad Building.
Sochan gathering by EBCI members in Great Smoky Mountains National Park began last spring under a General Agreement signed on March 25, 2019. Currently, the Park is working to amend that agreement to allow harvest of whole sochan leaves (rather than just the “turkey foot,” or last three lobes, as was permitted last year). This amendment will hopefully be in place in time for the 2020 gathering season.
– EBCI Natural Resources release