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. http://www.westernslopenofee.org/pdfuploads/Fee_Policy_White_Paper.pdf

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.

Recreation.gov 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 Jim Casada on August 30, 2017 at 9:50pm

What this shameful puff piece fails to mention that the new blackberry boondoggle will lie well outside the financial reach of ordinary folks, will put thousands of acres off limits for the hoi polloi, and will no doubt cater to the likes of Lamar Alexander. 

Jim Casada

Comment by John Quillen on August 30, 2017 at 8:36pm

I suppose when you have secured unfettered Smokies access through crooked politicians, this is the next logical progression. This unabashed ad piece explains why this particular newspaper never took on the illegal trail system.

 http://www.thedailytimes.com/news/blackberry-farm-announces-new-hot...

Comment by John Quillen on August 26, 2017 at 8:42am

Seems as if money is the solution to everything related to the wildfire.  And Zinke blessed Ca$h and his response to it thanks to Lameass.  Heaven forbid any blame ever go to the handling of the fires.  http://www.local8now.com/content/news/Secretary-of-Interior-Zinke--...

Comment by Dustin M on August 25, 2017 at 2:53pm

I read comments while he was missing that they all were hunting for ginseng when he got lost and that is why they did not want to report it right away. Who knows though, you know how credible gossip is. I think Ginseng collection in the Park should regulated and allowed for everyone. That's me though, I've never been Ginseng hunting myself, I just hate the thought of not being able to go if I did want to try it out. From what I can tell it's not that different from mushroom hunting really. What do I know though

Comment by Rob Cameron on August 25, 2017 at 2:41pm

I thought it was very strange that the first comment,after the lost hiker found his own way out, was that he may have been looking for ginseng. He had to be up  to something illegal I guess.

Comment by John Quillen on August 25, 2017 at 9:42am

Apparently sometime this morning, according to WBIR (which stands for We Believe In Rosy, when it comes to Smokies reporting. Nothing negative about Sugarlands allowed)

http://www.wbir.com/news/local/interior-secretary-to-visit-smokies-...

Comment by Dustin M on August 25, 2017 at 9:16am

What time?

Comment by Jim Casada on August 25, 2017 at 9:13am

John--You may have missed your calling, sense satire seems to be a strong point (and these blatant shenanigans need to be pointed out).

Jim Casada

Comment by John Quillen on August 25, 2017 at 9:06am

Looks like the chief criminal at DOI, Ryan Zinke, will be visiting the Smokies today and is entering the wild, untamed backcountry of Rainbow Falls with his escort, Lameass Alexander.  I suppose they will need special shoes to handle the pavement of that trail and perhaps bear bells and some spray lest any wildlife is encountered.

I am told that, after his grueling hike, they will retire to Blackberry Farms for mudbath facials, cucumber soaks and horseback riding through a private trail system that eventually connects to Gov Don Sundquist's home where they will take turns urinating off his balcony on what used to be backcountry campsite #4.  After this, Zinke will announce his great work in shrinking public lands, handing them over to the oil and gas companies and teach a seminar on how to properly pad an expense account and promote sexual harrasment in a government agency. Then Sen. Alexander will dedicate a new annex to Gov. Sundquists property and his neighbors through what has been a multi-year survey of land along Ace Gap.

And who says these bureaucrats don't do anything?

Comment by John Quillen on August 22, 2017 at 2:48pm

Thought I would share something pleasant, for a change. It is the celestial event from the most beautiful spot on the planet, quite familiar to many of our Southern Forest Watch clan.  Hangover, 5200 feet.  Hope everyone was able to catch their own, personal version.  We camped up there for 3 days to secure this vantage.

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