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 May 21, 2020 at 8:45am

The NPS is proposing spending a lot of money to build another big road in Metcalf bottoms. I am for the mtn biking proposal, but this road is just a waste of money. Be sure to leave a comment here.

Comment by John Quillen on April 6, 2020 at 8:54pm

  NPS logic, Dustin.

Comment by Dustin M on April 6, 2020 at 8:39pm

Setting backfires with a 80mph wind forecast ?!

Comment by John Quillen on April 6, 2020 at 8:31pm


The park service tried to get the whole thing dismissed but this judge said no. Remember they sent Ca$h on a little "assignment' to D.C. until they thought the smoke cleared. Problem was, people died. And I can tell you, because Myers and I were there the night before it jumped into town, and saw it for ourselves. It was unbelievable the wall of flames. I actually have video of it somewhere, I think. I'm not a firefighter, but we both were like "what if that thing got into town?"  And the NPS was setting backfires. I wonder if it was the backfires that "backfired"?

Comment by Dustin M on April 6, 2020 at 6:43pm

Gross negligence

Comment by John Quillen on April 6, 2020 at 2:06pm

Looks like old Cash and crew are getting a dose from Gatlinburg fire officials. As they should. Remember, Cash was a firefighter with the Forest Service, I believe, prior to his stint at Smokies.

Comment by John Quillen on March 25, 2020 at 7:04pm

I wonder if Leconte Lodge guests are similarly forbidden from the "backcountry".

Comment by Jo Neuspickel on March 24, 2020 at 11:06am

Dustin you very well might be right! I sure hope not but.........

Comment by Dustin M on March 24, 2020 at 11:02am

I dunno how we're going to pay for a $2 Trillion stimulus , let alone a $25 Trillion national debt.

Might be big cuts coming down the pike. The NPS might be one of the first. Will this be the trigger that creates the fee?

Comment by Jo Neuspickel on March 24, 2020 at 10:34am

Wow!!! I am having a hard time wrapping my head around all this! I work at a car dealership in the parts dept and yesterday our company laid off 90% of my coworkers! Yes since I am the parts manager I get to stay! It has been like a ghost town here for the past week almost! Stay safe everyone!

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