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 December 4, 2019 at 4:24pm

Wow, I guess we should have seen this coming with the advent of the Backcountry Tax.  Who is the most damaging species in the park? Apparently pesky off trail hikers and backcountry users who touch salamanders in the Smokies.

"Choosing the trail less traveled is an invasive act"   NPS   WOOOW!

Comment by John Quillen on November 6, 2019 at 7:35am

Because that is what Trump would expect, were he ever to set foot in a campground. But his daughter and son in law were in the Smokies a couple of days ago. Wonder where their Amazon delivery went?

Comment by Dustin M on November 5, 2019 at 11:23am

"At the urging of a controversial team of advisors, the Trump administration is mulling proposals to privatize national park campgrounds and further commercialize the parks with expanded Wi-Fi service, food trucks and even Amazon deliveries at tourist camp sites." - more in the LA Times link below

Comment by John Quillen on September 29, 2019 at 2:19pm

Ran into this Friday on the Rich Mtn Trail.  Some SOB has cut this road right up to the park boundary at 3500 feet. Incidentally, this is one of the few times I have hiked this trail and NOT seen bear. Big surprise?

Comment by John Quillen on September 5, 2019 at 7:05pm
Comment by John Quillen on September 4, 2019 at 8:24am

I'm not on facebook but I hope people wear them out. Is he a proponent of an entrance fee?

Comment by Dustin M on September 3, 2019 at 5:41pm

Some people who commented said they had no idea about the deed agreement 

Comment by Dustin M on September 3, 2019 at 5:41pm has a Facebook page and today he updated his status with a blurb about 'Why there is no entrance fee to the GSMNP' ...  this would be a good opportunity to spread awareness about the Park's efforts to lift deed restrictions as Killboy's page is highly trafficked 

Comment by John Quillen on August 20, 2019 at 10:17am

They obviously don't know how slow I jog, Mark.

Comment by Mark Cooke on August 19, 2019 at 6:04pm

I clicked on the top link of John's response to Radnor Lake below that took me to the state of Oregon, and the trail head Baskett Slough NWR. Their explanation was:

"One of the challenges with jogging is that it could have an adverse impact on wildlife in the process of breeding," said Miel Corbett, deputy assistant regional director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "Activities with higher speeds can be disruptive and cause stress to the animals."

But, is not stress to animals a hypocrisy of their own rules by allowing deer hunting during the rut?

"Deer hunting with both shotguns and bows is allowed during autumn......"

Two things I learned today, speed disrupts animals by adding stress to their life, hunting is a slow sport, so trying to harvest a deer during the rut adds no stress to the animal, not to mention the sound of a shotgun being fired. 

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