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 July 3, 2017 at 10:27pm


Check out whose signature is on these documents in question.

Comment by Myers Morton on July 2, 2017 at 9:06am

Based upon our personal knowledge, we know the administration of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are a bunch of liars and thieves.  It is beyond dispute.  If it comes out of their mouths, it's a fabrication.  Ergggg

Comment by Jim Casada on July 1, 2017 at 6:15pm

This stinks to high heaven of subterfuge, rewriting of history, CYA to the nth degree, and much more. It would probably take a dedicated investigative journalist (or maybe a bunch of them) to get to the bottom of this, but based on an ample amount of past history I'd virtually guarantee there's some shamefully sleazy behavior here.

Jim Casada

Comment by John Quillen on July 1, 2017 at 6:04pm

That's some interesting information about how they "slid" the smokies secretly into or out of that document.  I wonder what puppet master was pulling those strings.  I'll bet he is someone very familiar to us.....

Comment by Dustin M on July 1, 2017 at 12:34pm
Comment by Dustin M on July 1, 2017 at 12:17pm
Comment by John Quillen on July 1, 2017 at 9:47am

“First, we believe there was no way we could have controlled the fire prior to the wind event,” said Clay Jordan, Deputy Superintendent of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. “Second, the reality is that we believe no number of firefighters or fire engines could have stopped the spread of such an extreme wind-driven fire.”

Comment by Dustin M on June 30, 2017 at 12:56pm

I just saw that charges have been dropped in the Gatlinburg Arson case and pulled this quote from the KNS,... "Park officials decided to let the fire burn."

Comment by Dustin M on June 29, 2017 at 9:56pm

That's right, thanks for reminding us John

Comment by John Quillen on June 29, 2017 at 9:37pm

You tell em Myers!

On another note, does anyone else find it as hypocritical that the NPS and KnoxNews and Gosmokies is all up in arms over a guy that was photographed carving his initials into a tree yet none of them had the least bit of concern when Blackberry farms clear cut several hundred, ON PARK PROPERTY, for the purpose of creating and maintaining their own trail system within the park?

Just to keep this fresh in the minds of the new OUTDOOR guy at KNS, (he is apparently sprinkled with the same NPS fairy dust as his predecessor)  THIS is what Blackberry Farms did to OUR property in the park and the park knew about it and didn't do squat.  KNS, WBIR, and every other local outlet passed on this information, likely because of the association with Lameass and his involvement with the "resort". Understand that Clay Jordan was promoted to number 2 at GRSM.  This is our NPS at work.

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