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 September 6, 2017 at 4:29pm

My thinking exactly, Jim.  This isn't a lateral move.  With lawsuits coming down the pike, it makes one wonder.

Comment by Jim Casada on September 6, 2017 at 4:23pm

That's an interesting bit of news. Of course you always have to delve beneath the surface in things like this. It may well be that Cash requested the transfer, but it seems highly suspicious. The position is a huge step down from being superintendent of the country's most visited national park and a post which has to be one of the most coveted of all superintendent positions. About the only ones that would compare, at least in my view, would be Yosemite, Yellowstone, and maybe one or two others.

Jim Casada

Comment by John Quillen on September 6, 2017 at 4:18pm

Ca$h is gone in a Fla$h

Looks like Ca$h is getting his wings clipped a bit.  Fire related?  Perhaps they are moving him before the lawsuits hit.

Comment by Dustin M on September 4, 2017 at 7:29pm

Has anyone hiked up to Clingmans Dome for astrophotography pictures ?

Comment by John Quillen on September 2, 2017 at 7:30am

Gatlinburg and Sevier County do not agree with the NPS's self serving assessment of the "new normal" fire at Chimneys, however.

Comment by Andrew Sisson on September 1, 2017 at 4:50pm


Comment by John Quillen on September 1, 2017 at 2:19pm

          WBIR  (We Believe In Rosy)     

NPS report finds park was unprepared, but not negligent in Chimney Tops 2 fire

Now expect Ca$h to begin implementation of the frontcountry camping fee.

Comment by John Quillen on August 31, 2017 at 11:24pm

But this is what Lamar said about his buddies handling of a fire that killed 14 people.

“The bottom line is the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was not prepared for something this unprecedented. The review makes several useful recommendations to be better prepared for fires in the future, however the report also finds that many of those changes could not have prevented the tragedy that occurred in November 2016. Going forward, we will have to be prepared for fires we’ve never seen before in this part of the country.”

Comment by John Quillen on August 31, 2017 at 11:15pm

The Chimney Tops Fire Review Report is out.  This is the first thing I noticed in the findings.

 Finding 9 During the fire, the FMO was simultaneously serving as the duty officer and incident commander, which is contrary to NPS policy.

Recommendation Three The review team found inconsistencies between the fire management program in Great Smoky Mountains National Park and other national parks. Based on these inconsistencies, a wildland fire program review is warranted at the park and regional levels

Comment by Dustin M on August 31, 2017 at 8:29am

The Daily Times just added the story to their facebook 8hrs ago, comments added there also. 

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