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 17 hours ago

I never tire of hearing the word cognoscenti employed with regard to the NPS moustache club.  Isn't it interesting that they can't fill the Superintendent position here?  Anyone think that may have something to do with this lawsuit and they want the incoming Outlander to have a "clean slate"?

Comment by Myers Morton 17 hours ago


Comment by Jim Casada 21 hours ago

I actually think John is an entrant in the special contest, sponsored by The Outlander Association, for the most irritating native of the Smokies. Among the contest parameters or qualifications are:

1. Makes a pest of himself by challenging to obviously superior wisdom of outdlanders.

2. Known for forthright expression of views considered contrary to the "this is what is best for you" perspective of the carpetbagger cognoscenti.

3. Willingness to challenge the establishment, especially when it comes to bureaucratic dictates.

Jim Casada

Comment by John Quillen 21 hours ago

Thanks for the endorsement, Dustin.  I'm not running for anything.  Myers is the one that should be running, though.  

Comment by Dustin M yesterday

John Quillen for office!

Comment by Myers Morton yesterday


Comment by John Quillen yesterday
Comment by Dana Koogler on Tuesday

Its a mess alright. I sat down and reviewed the candidates and issues today.  I was shocked at what I found. Lots of alternatives to the two main ones, but the bios, platforms, websites, etc that I was directed to on the candidates for the OTHER choices were pitiful.  I will not vote for any incumbent, but as far as voting for any of the other "independents" or Green Party etc.  its a real crap shoot.  The issues are not as bad, but the language on proposed amendment 1 is convoluted as it can be.   As to what John is saying about Lamar.... while he was in the employ of UT and was driving business to the Blackberry Farm.  Clearly that constitutes a conflict of interests.  Duh.  What is very interesting to me is that during my years of service as an employee of UT I had to take a net learning class every freaking year. It is mandatory learning and to my knowledge is required of EVERY UT employee on a yearly basis.  It covers what constitutes a conflict of interests and such.  Did they not make him take the net learning classes? Was that before his time?  or like everything else in life... the rules simply did not apply to him and his chronies?   I am betting its the last one.   I'd be very curious to know if he was required to go through that rigamarole?  It seemed like I'd no more get it done for one year than it would be time to do it all again.   Don't get me started.

Comment by Jim Casada on Tuesday

I'm glad I don't live in Tennessee, because there's no way, never mind nose holding or anything else, I could vote for either of these men. Alexander is a repugnant, self-serving career politician. Gordon Ball's stance on a whole bunch of things, from the Second Amendment to social issues, is way beyond the pale from my perspective. I wish you Tennesseeans well with this unholy duo.

Jim Casada

Comment by Myers Morton on Tuesday

There is a difference between capitalism and crony capitalism.

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