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 26, 2011 at 11:39am

Apparently, Morgan Sommerville was a former Smokies backcountry ranger.  It was his recommendation that the AT oppose the fee plan.  Isn't that a slap in the face for those folks on gosmokies who cited these alleged long gone rangers and their endorsement of the proposal.  Here is a guy who worked, apparently, in the Smokies backcountry at the same time as that guy Vesna always quoted and says he opposes the fees.  A real former smokies backcountry ranger disagrees with the fee plan.

Comment by John Quillen on December 26, 2011 at 11:26am

NPS thinks they wear the white stetson hats. Peel back that glowing outer layer and you find a insulated cult that regard the public as the "unwashed masses" who defile their park.

That's an interesting quote, Joey.  Someone I've never seen comment before makes that claim about the Sugarlands swashbucklers makes me wonder if it isn't another insider, like the one that reached out to us at the Dale and gang is really skilled at their public persona.  They ride on the coattails of Ken Burns National Parks series but the underbelly of this administration is something very different.  There were rumours of strings being pulled with regard to the artifacts center prior to this scandal.  Then there was the Cherokee land swap and now the FEEasco.  Ditmanson is batting a 1000.  If he proceeds with this plan, he will definitely go down as one of the most famous Superintendents in Smokies History and it won't be attributed to a white hat either.  More like a horse apple stained brown one for sure.

Comment by Joey Bridges on December 26, 2011 at 10:31am

read the comments at the bottom of this article. looks like we're not alone in our assumptions on the gang that mismanages the park.

Comment by John Quillen on December 25, 2011 at 8:57pm

Yes Joey, the scary, scary out of control backcountry with poop eating bears and mysterious studies done by long gone rangers.  Ditz tried to buy off the ATC with the building in the land swap and they said, "Thanks Dale, nice building, but we're not going to tell all our thru hikers to buy your bs."  I love it.  This is a great Christmas present.  Martin, thank you!

Comment by Joey Bridges on December 25, 2011 at 3:15pm

Fear Mongering.The idea is to terrify and terrorize the audience during every waking moment. This of course raises the question: why terrorize your own audience? Because it is the fastest way to bypasses the rational brain. In other words, when people are afraid, they don't think rationally. And when they can't think rationally, they'll believe anything.

an out clip from a news article i was reading about media bullying.

does this tactic sound a bit familiar ???

and does this remind you of another group on another blog site, who've fallen hook, line, and sinker for that tactic as it relates to the "FEEASCO" ???

Comment by Joey Bridges on December 25, 2011 at 1:24pm

this isn't surprising at all. you have dale ditmanson hiding behind closed doors thinking he can make up policy as he goes along. his desire for every dollar he can squeeze from a source he thought would be relatively silent, has backfired in his face.

the ATC in no way can be supportive of this absurd fee proposal. it flies in the face of the very reason the AT was created. FREEDOM TO WANDER !!!

adding the AT and it's shelters into the equation erodes the freedoms of an even larger segment of the backpacker population.
most seasoned through hikers already despise the G.S.M.N.P. as it is, with it's restrictions on where they can spend the night on their journey north.

this just further exposes dale ditmanson for the inept federal employee that he is.

Comment by John Quillen on December 25, 2011 at 9:20am

Did you guys see what Martin posted about the ATC opposing the backcountry fee?

Comment by John Quillen on December 24, 2011 at 12:40am

I love that picture, Joey.  Feels like a time we backpacked to cs 17 on Little Bottoms.  Woke up to a flotilla of law enforcement with guns. 

Comment by Joey Bridges on December 23, 2011 at 5:39pm

your rendition of rawhide, reminded me of that film.

Comment by L. Perry Fuqua on December 23, 2011 at 5:33pm

you mentioned the Blues Bros. a couple minutes ago didn't you, and now we have them in living color.  love it!  You R onit Joey Bridges

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