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 October 11, 2020 at 9:08am

I just suspended Nicole Brown from the network. Sorry she has bothered some of you. Thanks Mark for letting me know. If anyone else does this, just let me know.  Hope everyone is well.

Comment by Dustin M on October 7, 2020 at 9:07am

I just did an email search and checked my junk folder. Did not see any from Nicole Brown.

Maybe I deleted it without noticing? I get a lot of emails that I send to the waste bin without reading if I don't recognize the sender.

Comment by Mark Cooke on October 6, 2020 at 9:28pm

Hey Dustin,

If you click on the pull down tab above labeled Main you can scroll and count approximately 68 members that the Nicole Brown e-mail was sent to at the left side of your screen. I checked and did not see your name as well as my wifes.  However, she in fact did get an e-mail from her and was sent from this web site. So based on that info there is something wrong here and at this time no one knows how many members this has been sent to. 

Thanks Dustin for letting us know you received nothing and I guess you have looked in your spam folders as well. Hopefully this has not affected everyone. The fact remains for someone to get these personal e-mails and send out a broadcast type message is concerning.

Comment by Dustin M on October 6, 2020 at 8:44pm

I did not get any email from a 'Nicole Brown'

Comment by Mark Cooke on October 6, 2020 at 8:42pm

If you are wondering about the e-mail that was sent on 10/05/2020 from this site to every member by a supposed Nicole Brown, it appears to be a breach to this website. I have reached out to John and he asked me to let you know that he will address this issue as soon as he is able. I would suggest that you NOT reply to the e-mail by Nicole Brown until this can be checked out.

Comment by Dustin M on September 24, 2020 at 4:58pm

Oh, don't bother him.

I just haven't seen him post in a while and was wondering.

I was going to ask him if he knew anything about Andy Orr of Graham County. Figure from the early 1900s

Comment by John Quillen on September 24, 2020 at 4:47pm

He is. I've corresponded with him via email. I'll see if I can coax him back over here, Dustin.

Comment by Dustin M on September 24, 2020 at 4:16pm

I haven't seen Jim Casada post in a while.

Is he still around?

Comment by John Quillen on September 12, 2020 at 8:57pm

Very true, Dustin. 

In other news, a bear apparently ate a backpacker at campsite 82 today and was killed.

And Clay Jordan, our great nemesis at SFW who allowed Blackberry Farms to operate their own private trail system in the park, just was made Superintendent of Kings Canyon and Sequoyah NP.  It pays to be cozy with the park profiteers.

Comment by Dustin M on September 9, 2020 at 10:41am

There goes all that backlog money.

The park was definitely at fault and they will be fighting harder than ever to pass the cost to us. Get ready for more fee talk

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