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 Neuspickel on April 6, 2022 at 12:09pm

It is very outrageous!!! They are coming up with ways to go around the "no charge" for the park! It makes me half sick thinking about this! I do not have any kin in the park but I feel for those that do! If this passes, and I'm sure it will, they will have to pay to visit the cemeteries! Sad sad sad!

It was not unexpected at all! I am actually surprised it took them this long!

Comment by John Quillen on April 6, 2022 at 11:37am

Outrageous, isn't it Jo?  But not unexpected. If they can get away with negligence in the wildfires that killed people, they can get away with taxing citizens and doubling the taxes with no oversight. They are spoiled children who know no consequences. 

Comment by Jo Neuspickel on April 6, 2022 at 10:43am

Just read on WBIR on Facebook that the park now wants to charge a parking fee! They also want to raise backcountry permits to $8 a night and frontcountry $30 or $36 across all campgrounds! I would have shared the article but I'm not as computer savvy as I used to be!!!! It's a bunch of BS if you ask me!!!!

Comment by John Quillen on January 16, 2022 at 9:20am

%91 of commenters approved of parking fees for Laurel Falls?

https://www.wate.com/news/gsmnp-91-supported-laurel-falls-vehicle-t...

Comment by Myers Morton on January 2, 2022 at 8:59am

BTW, we're still waiting on 3 large FOIA requests they have approved, but not yet responded.

Comment by John Quillen on December 29, 2021 at 11:56am

Comment by John Quillen on December 10, 2021 at 12:26pm

At least you know that your backcountry tax money is being spent well.

https://www.wate.com/news/smoky-mountains/smokies-seek-public-input...

Comment by John Quillen on November 18, 2021 at 11:51am

It now costs up to 12$ per night to backcountry camp at Frozen Head.  They charge $5 for the reservation and the cost for the campsite depends upon demand!  It can go up even higher if they want to do that.  And nothing stops them. It is good to be kings and queens.

Comment by Jo Neuspickel on October 13, 2021 at 10:55am

I am positive that if it was a horse trail it wouldn't have been closed near this long! I am sure the landowners have a lot to do with it. The last time we were on the loop road (last Spring) it seemed just fine to me! To me it seemed like a waste of our money!

Comment by John Quillen on October 13, 2021 at 10:35am

Thanks Jo, We appreciate your support. I can't believe that Scott Mtn trail has been closed this long. Could you imagine if a horse trail was closed this long or a Leconte trail? We know this has to do with wealthy landowners who abut the park not wanting to have hikers in their backyard. Same as with Ace Gap and the whole Blackberry farm debacle. Ca$h and crew are about serving the Smokies cognoscenti, as Jim would say.  To tell me they cant clear a trail from detritus after spending millions to repave the loop road that didn't have a single pothole says everything you need to know about our Ca$h crew. They are all about filling the pockets of Blalock Construction and keeping the Lamar Alexanders of the world happy with their Smokies backyards.

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