BACKCOUNTRY TAX FEEASCO the unedited and uncensored edition

Our original Backcountry Tax blog on the gosmokies site was moderated by some folks who held an opinion in favor of backcountry fees.  As a result the blog operator, Jigsha Desai made several threats to shut us down but we remained in operation because it was the most popular blog post in the history of that site.  We decided to take our conversation to a place where our message wouldn't be suppressed.  This blog is the result.

Therefore, it is our collective opinion that the Backcountry Fee Proposal put out By Park Superintendent Dale Ditmanson and backcountry specialist Melissa Cobern is an egregious reach into the pockets of taxpaying citizens. 

A prominent study proves that access fees restrict use of National Park and forest lands.

The primary justification of the backcountry fee proposal made by park administration is campsite overcrowding which was proven false.  Click here for details and statistics to prove this fallacy for exactly what it is.  A federal fee grab.

Park management cozies up to the horse lobby but proposes a tax on  backpackers who are the best citizens of the Great Smoky Mountains.  In fact, Ditmanson recently signed off on a new horse concession smack dab in the middle of Cades Cove. is touted as a solution for reservation problems in the backcountry office but this Canadian based company is frought with problems.  72 hour reservations are required for the empty Smokies campsites you will be paying for the privilege of using.  Forget spontaneous weekend outings with the family.  Better pull out the wallet, you are going to pay just to talk to them.

This is not about money for any of us.  We love the Smokies and actually get out there and know the lies being spread by the Sugarlands swashbucklers.  It is a matter of deciding what type of National Park you want.  Should boy scout groups and single mothers and twenty somethings be discouraged from nature because of trumped up justifications for more rangers?  We think not.  Help us stop this double taxation now.  One fee will result in another.  We must make a stand.

(picture courtesy Kittzy Benzar, Western Slope No fee coalition)

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Comment by John Quillen on September 17, 2016 at 5:52pm

The blithering idiots at the Forest Service here in TN tore up part of the Trail of Tears.

Aaron Mahr, the National Parks Service superintendent for the trail, said his agency works with private landowners and government agencies to protect the portions of the trail that cross their properties. 

This on the heels of the NPS superintendent stealing artifacts from Effigy Mounds.  Can the Forest Service or NPS be trusted with ANYTHING?   GEEESH.

Comment by Myers Morton on September 14, 2016 at 5:12pm

Praetorian Guard.

Comment by John Quillen on September 14, 2016 at 3:56pm

Everyone's comments are great!  You know Cash is having some moustache twitching.  I'm glad Jim emailed Kurt.  He is the only one to cover this story.  Holly Kays with Smoky Mtn News was interested and she may be doing a more in depth thing.   But the editor at KNS and the Daily Times passed on it.  I just sent an email to the editor at the Daily Times with a link to the article.

 If you think that the Knoxville News Sentinel should answer as to why they don't think it is newsworthy, here is a link to the editor.  The same link to which I sent the same info to Kurt.  And heard nothing.    

Isn't it interesting that NOT ONE TENNESSEE news outlet finds this newsworthy.  Perhaps they are afraid of running afoul of Lamar.

Comment by Dustin M on September 14, 2016 at 11:22am

Make sure to proof read folks! There's no edit button :p

Comment by Jim Casada on September 14, 2016 at 11:15am

I noticed the greatful for grateful but thought the "Great Southern Forest Watch" was delightful. John and his crew of merry men are great.

Jim Casada

Comment by Dustin M on September 14, 2016 at 10:55am

...and I called 'The Southern Forest Watch' the 'Great Southern Forest Watch'  , go home're drunk

Comment by Dustin M on September 14, 2016 at 10:51am

I misspelled 'grateful'. I'm a moron. 

Comment by Jim Casada on September 14, 2016 at 9:14am

John--I tried to comment and hit a technological brick wall (likely of my own creation). I did send Kurt a blistering comment on the GSMNP's actions while also thanking him for his fine work. The spokeswoman, Dana Soehn, comes across as so condescending it has me gnashing my teeth.

Jim Casada

Comment by John Quillen on September 14, 2016 at 7:46am


Kurt wrote this article after we sent him a copy of Wightman's comments.  And he did a great job!  Be sure to comment on the article because you know CASH is watching.

Comment by John Quillen on September 12, 2016 at 8:34pm

Let's pick a date towards the end of October.  Sounds like Jo and Dustin and some others may be able to drop by or stay.  Jim buck dances, by the way for those of you who haven't seen it.  He gives Jed a real run for his money.  "I done seen it, " as they say over in Bryson.

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