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 yesterday

Just when you think it can't get any better, the News Sentinel publishes an opinion piece today entitled "Park has Continued to Make Progess"  by..................drum roll....................Lameass Alexander.

  There may be a news outlet interested in the public opposition to the frontcountry fee increase and concerns expressed by a former bigwig ranger who ran the program.  But its not local and darn sure isn't KNS.  

Comment by John Quillen on Tuesday
When 8 counties including Knox passed resolutions to call for a stop to the back country tax, the sentinel reporter Simmons told me he didn't have staff to cover it. Unbelievable
Comment by John Quillen on Tuesday
Comment by John Quillen on Tuesday

Front page of Knoxville News Sentinel today is the following headline:

 Smokies to Host Appreciation Luncheon for Employees.

Man, are they on the forefront of issues related to park users.

Comment by John Quillen on Monday

This is from Bob Wightman, retired NPS bigwig who was involved in the administration of frontcountry camping.  You  have a former NPS official admitting that the park seeks public comment on proposals that are going to be implemented anyway.  WOW!


Comment by John Quillen on Monday

Comment by John Quillen on Monday

...good one, Dustin

Comment by Dustin M on Monday

I'm partial to #96 

Comment by John Quillen on Sunday

Here's another good one.

Comment by Dustin M on Sunday

That commenter is the smartest one in the whole batch. He should get a medal. 

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