A husband and wife team track down the most remote places in the United States
November 21, 2018
Every state's most remote place
So you want to get away from it all? You want to find a spot with no people and no signs of people and just be alone. Then go to the far western part of the state. That’s the discovery of the husband and wife team that has made it their mission to find the most remote place in every state. They founded Project Remote. Ryan and Rebecca Means are wildlife biologists, ecologists and naturalists. So far, they’ve calculated and documented the most remote place in 35 of the 50 states with their daughter in tow. And yes, they’ve calculated the spot in North Carolina!
The definition of "remote"
But here’s the challenge. Just what does “remote” mean? Yes, it would be the farthest place from civilization. But it’s important to create a definition that can apply all 50 states. The website lists some of the criteria Ryan and Rebecca used:
1. A remote spot must be located on high, developable ground above flood plains or tidal zones. That excludes the middle of lakes. Islands are ok, as long as they support an upland ecosystem.
2. Roads are pretty broadly defined. Paved and unpaved, logging logging roads and powerline right-of-ways are all counted. The team defines a road as any “designated motorized vehicle routes.”
Given all that, Project Remote created this definition of remoteness: “The remotest location within a state is the point that is the farthest straight-line distance from a road or city/town. It is a point on the landscape that is marked by a set of geographical coordinates (latitude and longitude). We refer to these areas as state Remote Spots. “
So if you want to get away in North Carolina, the most remote spot is found in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, shown below. Here’s a link to the journal the team kept on its way to the spot.
Frank Graff is a producer/reporter with UNC-TV, focusing on Sci NC, a broadcast and online science series.