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 Jo Jackson - Neuspickel on June 18, 2018 at 8:48am

Congrats John!!

Comment by Jim Casada on June 17, 2018 at 6:28am

John--Hearty congratulations. That's a grand feat and one made even more special by the help you gave to another. Talk about a bucket list item, this one is the lace on the bride's pajamas.

Jim Casada

Comment by Erik Gerhardt on June 16, 2018 at 1:12am
Comment by Dustin M on May 2, 2018 at 4:36pm
Comment by Dustin M on April 5, 2018 at 2:35pm

Fantastic 

Comment by Rob Cameron on April 5, 2018 at 1:54pm
Comment by John Quillen on March 9, 2018 at 12:24pm

I love how he took our language verbatim about the park being donated and created by the pennies of schoolchildren and the Rockefellers. Which tells me he knew better than to pick an entrance fee fight. In his mind I suppose that justifies drilling for oil and gas on public lands. So who says what we have done doesn't matter? Thanks for sharing Dustin. 

Comment by Dustin M on March 8, 2018 at 10:33am
Comment by John Quillen on March 6, 2018 at 7:33am

Yes, Jim. They hung us out to dry. We SFWers have a good friend that is on the ATC and he told me that every time he brought it up, the bigwigs would shudder and change the subject.  Apparently the AT is technically part of the NPS, a fact I didn't know until then.

Comment by Jim Casada on March 5, 2018 at 7:12pm

John--If I remember correctly, the ATC folks pretty well blew us (and our struggle) off, feeling they were going to get special treatment and as long as that happened all was well. 

My Grandpa Joe had an ideal expression for such situations, and it was one he used often. "They'll learn," he's say, "they'll learn."

Jim Casada

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