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 January 12, 2018 at 7:27am


Apparently one senator is looking to see how Zinke spent $40,000 dollars of Interior money to fly around on jets under the guise of "visiting wildfire areas" without actually visiting wildfire areas. Understand he has been called out for doing the same thing while serving in the military as a Navy Seal.  No wonder he needs to restructure the dept so he can have more tax dollars for his jet setting lifestyle.

Comment by Dustin M on January 9, 2018 at 7:53am
Comment by John Quillen on January 5, 2018 at 9:10pm

2018 promises that more bad behavior within the NPS is rewarded with promotion.

Comment by Mike Thorpe on December 22, 2017 at 1:47pm

Looks like Park Visitors best buy some asbestos suits and gear...Merry Christmas, the NPS is a gift that keeps on costing isn't it....

Comment by John Quillen on December 22, 2017 at 12:50pm

Looks like Ca$h is back at the helm in the Smokies.

Comment by John Quillen on December 21, 2017 at 10:15pm

This is the first time I have seen a public suggestion that the NPS in the Smokies lit a backfire near park headquarters prior to the great, fateful event.  I'll bet some lawyers will be all over that one

Comment by John Quillen on December 19, 2017 at 8:35am

They are amending the Wilderness Act to allow mountain bikes on hiking trails. Strangely enough, the mtn biking community doesn't want to be on the trails and is opposing this legislation.  As a mountain biker myself, I see the need to protect these trails from mtn bikes. But, politicians know best.

Comment by John Quillen on December 8, 2017 at 2:30pm

Not that this should come as any surprise from the most loathsome DOI Secretary in history.

Comment by John Quillen on November 23, 2017 at 8:25pm
Comment by John Quillen on November 20, 2017 at 1:37pm

In response to something Jim mentioned earlier I wanted to share a recent experience with Lameass Alexander's office. I first called Sen. Corker's office to express my concerns about a pending piece of legislation (not related to the fee but rather largely impacts small, self employed business owners like myself and pretty much anyone else who isn't a millionaire) before the Senate this week.

Corker's office told me that his phone bank has accumulated so many calls opposing this legislation they can't keep up with it.  I had been trying to reach Alexander's office all morning, it was busy.

When I finally got in to Alexander's office, his resident lackey told me that Alexander planned to support said piece of legislation.  I then asked if they had been receiving a lot of calls and he told me that information was confidential. When I asked Alexander's lackey if they kept track of the calls, said lackey said, "No, due to privacy concerns".  I then asked if I did a FOIA as a private citizen would there be record of the calls.  Again he said no. When I asked if Alexander would be impacted by a large number of dissenting voices among his constituents, the lackey began to give me a sales pitch on this legislation.  I then asked if he would like to name the name of this particular constituent who was calling and he said,

"We have your name on the screen".

No freaking kidding.   Lameass Alexander. 

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