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 Dustin M yesterday

Here's a better version, the space between the 'W' and the 'a' was bothering me. That was the default of the font though. I don't have anything other than what came with the macbook for editing so my abilities are limited. It will look good on my sidecar though. Maybe it will bring attention to your effort and let others that are not satisfied with the actions of our NPS know that there are more people like themselves.

Comment by Myers Morton on Tuesday

What about adding our owl?

Comment by John Quillen on Tuesday

That's a nice, clean look.

Comment by Dustin M on Monday

Do any of you guys cut vinyl decals?

Comment by John Quillen on Monday
Comment by John Quillen on June 15, 2017 at 8:54am

An interesting story on how the demolition at Elkmont killed the lightning bug show this year.  What is funny is that the scientist  "expressed her concerns about the timing of the demolition to park leaders before demolition began."

Like those guys are going to listen to any "science".    http://www.wbir.com/news/local/drought-demolition-dims-synchronous-...

Comment by John Quillen on May 30, 2017 at 3:41pm

Still, no answer at backcountry office and system still not accepting credit cards.  

Comment by John Quillen on May 30, 2017 at 2:53pm

Today Cash and crew have found a new way to keep folks out of the backcountry.  The backcountry reservation system isn't accepting any credit cards and no one is answering the phones in the backcountry office.  So if you just keep the system down and don't answer the phones, those pesky backpackers will go away.   What a scam. I'll bet I could make a reservation to see the fireflies through recreation.gov, though.

I'm reminded of the days prior to the fee when SFW offered to provide able bodies to manage the phones at the backcountry office and were told by Fitzgerald, they "desired a more professional presence".  Then we offered to furnish a software system developed by SFW volunteer Walter Isenberg.   And they declined that as well.  

Comment by Jim Casada on May 29, 2017 at 8:52am

John--I'm not really surprised. Deep in my gut I have the feeling that it would suit the Sugarlands swashbucklers just fine to close many of the backcountry trails. I haven't pursued the subject in detail, but I strongly suspect that if you did an analysis of the total maintained trial mileage for say 1980 compared to that of today you would find an appreciable loss in total miles.

Jim Casada

Comment by John Quillen on May 27, 2017 at 12:17pm

Looks as if the Smokies, to borrow one of Jim's ten dollar words, cognoscenti, are going to use the wildfires as an excuse to permanently restrict access to what was one of the best little adventures in the park.   No more climbing the chimneys.  http://www.knoxnews.com/story/news/local/tennessee/gatlinburg/2017/...

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