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)

Views: 133152


You need to be a member of GotSmokies to add comments!

Join GotSmokies

Comment by Martin Hunley on December 27, 2011 at 11:23pm


I have read that book as well. It was an eye opener... I read it back in the early 90's. I also read The Road Less Traveled. I enjoyed that book a lot. I would say I need to read them again. i would have a totally different view of from the life knowledge I have gained since then. Especially the way corporate America has shit all over my outlook on life...

Comment by Joey Bridges on December 27, 2011 at 8:05pm
Comment by John Quillen on December 27, 2011 at 7:58pm


Funny you mentioned that book.  It is a very important work that has undertones directly related to this feeasco.  As you know I read that book decades ago and consider it essential for pseudo intellectuals who think they can rationalize their way out of self created circumstance.  Peck stumbled upon the basis of what he and I perceive as the root of all evil.  In this Feeasco, there are two forces.  A government entity that uses false data to support false claims with false people showing up to prop their false assertions.  Second, there is a network of false assertions made by individuals for self motive (greed and self promotion are tied here) who present themselves as experts but have little or no experience but an abundance of opinion about the need for backcountry fees because it serves multiple self serving motives.

Peck called them Liars.  The People of the Lie.  Be they bureaucrats who manipulate the public into a false war or false fee system or individuals who claim to be modern day shamans who know what is best for the unwashed masses.  History has shown us the result of our endeavors based upon falsehood and time has eventually exposed their (usually economic) motives.  I am really glad you made that reference.  I know a few folks over yonder that could stand to read that book and one other, though their hands might get burned. Does anyone know a homeopathic smokies remedy for this?  Maybe the Cherokee have a root or poultice or certain kind of tree bark?

Comment by Joey Bridges on December 27, 2011 at 5:23pm

i remember reading that story back when it came out. and while i have zero problem with dui checkpoints, mainly because that crime is a savagely vicious one which overrides the highly questionable aspect of random traffic stops,

this goes back to exactly what i've said in the past, over on the censored blog site, there's no way the additional backcountry rangers will be allowed to wander around in the backcountry, hiking from empty site, to empty site for all that long. sooner or later they'll be put in one of the crown vic's patrolling the roads, parking lots, and car camping areas.
they can make far better use of our time and tax $$$ in the capacity.
and at that point, why are backcountry campers paying for the problems of the drive through crowd ???

Comment by John Quillen on December 27, 2011 at 5:10pm

Does anyone really think these new backcountry rangers are going to stay in the backcountry.  Look at the date of this article.

Comment by John Quillen on December 27, 2011 at 5:05pm

I've emailed the ATC to see if they can give us some type of press release to feature over on    That's where I thanked Morgan.  Maybe we can get Martin to scan a copy of the press release from the flier.

Comment by Jim Casada on December 27, 2011 at 9:11am

Martin--Are the ATC comments explaining their opposition to the backcountry fees available to the public?  It would be useful to have them if so.  At this point one has to wonder a bit whether we will ever get the full, true comments from Ditmanson, since obviously there is obfuscation and procrastination at every turn connected with the FOIA request.  There's also concern, at least in this quarter, that there will be gerrymandering or redacting.  To be sure, that might be a bit difficult since upwards of 500 of those who opposed this on the record did so in through an on-line petition. 

Call me a bit paranoid if you wish, but I have reached the point where my skepticism connected with anything coming out of Sugarlands is on red alert.

Anyway, share if you have this information and thanks for the good news (and good for the ATC!).

Jim Casada

Comment by Martin Hunley on December 27, 2011 at 7:48am
Very good points Dana. I hate to agree, but I do see a lot of your points.

Congress is trying to pass a bill that they can take someone without a court order and submit ways of truth finding as is used by the CIA. They can hold people as long as they want as well. All is needed is for the law enforcement is to see you as a threat to natal security. This sounds like a lot of right wing stuff and it is.... Just some more things to think about.... Some of this has been brought up by some veitnam vets at work. This bill is scary from very little I have read on it. Crazy stuff in the name of fighting terroism.
Comment by Martin Hunley on December 27, 2011 at 7:00am
Chris, I was thinking the same thing as far sending a thank you note.

Thanks, John. What is that song, I believe by the Scorpions - the change of wind. More or less about the Fall of the Berlin Wall. This should be the song of this Feeasco.

Great work my friends. I appluad your tenacity.
Comment by Martin Hunley on December 27, 2011 at 6:51am
Catching up on some of the post in the few days. Some pretty good stuff. Great job guys. I just cannot express how thrilled I was to get the email from the ATC. I have been so down on how the ATC has been going along with this whole thing. I wonder were some of the pressure came from to do a 180?

I agree Joey about what the ATC stands for is the freedom of the path for over 2175 miles. They have a lot of support an backing. U would hope they would stand up and fight anything such as this. I guess they would have to reroute the Appalachian Trail around the Smokies if it got past. I know I would hike it through the smokies and not pay a dime. They would have to carry me off the mountain and I would do as much bad PR as I could. I just wish more people would see this as an intrusion on our freedom.

It is do easy to say, "OK, I will pay for this because it is for a good cause. " I am guilty of this as well. It is for a good cause, but it is founded on lies and that is the problem.

We taxpayers pay plenty of taxes. We need to be more involved were it is going and demand that it goes to what the people believe is needed. We are pretty much like cattle... Just feed and water us.....and we will follow.

© 2018   Created by John Quillen.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service