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 June 10, 2019 at 1:17pm

I love it, Dustin!  Amphibious landing on the Quarry.  I could see River Sports chasing us around on their paddleboards!

Comment by Jo Neuspickel on June 10, 2019 at 12:51pm

We have a canoe!!

Comment by Dustin M on June 10, 2019 at 12:49pm

How about we all bring our kayaks and charge the Quarry, they'll have to reload before they get us all

Comment by Jo Neuspickel on June 10, 2019 at 12:49pm

Fall is good! We usually take our week long vacation to the mountains the 2nd week of October but sometimes we are able to come down there for just a long weekend. We are not against camping in other areas! We have never camped or hiked any other area besides the Smoky's except in Ky!

Comment by John Quillen on June 10, 2019 at 12:30pm

I would love that, Jo. Several years ago we had an SFW board campout at Deep Creek and it was a real blast. We need to plan one of those again for everyone, perhaps this Fall? What is good for you?

Comment by Jo Neuspickel on June 10, 2019 at 12:27pm

I wish we could make it but work is what I have to do!! One day we will meet in person and share a trail or campfire!

Comment by John Quillen on June 10, 2019 at 12:04pm

I wanted to invite anyone here at Gotsmokies who may be interested to join me this Thursday for a hike in the Urban Wilderness on behalf of Legacy Parks, a wonderful organization that does so much for wilderness spaces in our great city. We will take a walk up Best Medicine Trail at Baker Creek. The event is free. It is a great trail right in the heart of town.  I would love to share a trail with some of you that I haven't met in person.

Comment by John Quillen on May 13, 2019 at 10:29pm


Mark Cook would be the one to answer that question.

Comment by Dustin M on May 13, 2019 at 7:05pm

Where can I find information about the NPS counting cars from 'casino to go kart track' ?

Comment by Dustin M on May 6, 2019 at 11:46am
I have donated some things that I have found metal detecting to the Farragut Folklife Museum never to be seen again...

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