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 Andrew Sisson on May 25, 2017 at 4:37pm

Why do they need solar panels at Mt. Sterling?  Last time I was there, the fire tower is in shambles.

Comment by Tom Johnson on May 25, 2017 at 4:34pm
Comment by Andrew Sisson on May 25, 2017 at 4:29pm

Any one know what the construction project was in the GSMNP at CS38 (Mount Sterling)?  I found this on their website:  construction project will be underway at CS38 between 4/24-5/19. During weekday daylight hours, hikers may encounter noise, mechanized equipment, and experience short closures in area of Campsite 38 and on the Mt Sterling Trail. All trails and Campsite 38 will remain open.

Comment by Dustin M on May 21, 2017 at 12:57pm

What a bunch of bull! 

I will try to make the meeting also! 

Comment by John Quillen on May 9, 2017 at 1:14pm

Knoxville is going to spend 750 thousand dollars for something else citizens will not be able to access without going through a concessionaire   So glad my property taxes went up %30 to support this initiative. I defintely plan on being at this meeting at S. Doyle June 1.

The BMX track would also be open to students and community members at least one evening a week or more for practice, says Mike Donila, community relations manager for Knox County Parks and Recreation. Grider says the track would be managed by an outside contractor and further details haven’t been ironed out.

Comment by John Quillen on May 5, 2017 at 10:30am

Apparently the entire Smokies is closed due to down trees.  But you can't find that on their website anywhere, you have to go to an external twitter feed.  

Comment by Dustin M on April 24, 2017 at 10:01pm

That guy gets it!

Comment by John Quillen on April 24, 2017 at 8:55pm

I propose we hire this guy to run the Smokies.  It just proves the NPS CAN do what they want, provided they want to.

Comment by John Quillen on April 20, 2017 at 10:10am

I smell a precancerous fee cell spreading to the Appalachian Trail.

Comment by Dustin M on April 16, 2017 at 9:01pm


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