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 Joey Bridges on January 16, 2012 at 6:51pm

or pay to park at that road clogging parking lot at the alum cave trailhead ???

Comment by frank w on January 16, 2012 at 6:42pm
It only starts with the backcountry certainly doesn't end there. It surprises me that some don't see that. How many would jump up and down if they had to pay to picnic at the chimneys picnic area?
Comment by Jim Casada on January 16, 2012 at 3:44pm

John--Got to pay to pee, pay to park, pay to picnic--pay, pay, pay.  My inclination is to say pay this no mind.  Obivously our government at its greedy, money grabbing worst, and that's exactly what would transpire if this backcountry fee mess goes through.  One thing leads to another.

Jim Casada

Comment by John Quillen on January 16, 2012 at 3:40pm

Coming Soon to the Smokies if this BS isn't stopped right here and now.

Comment by John Quillen on January 15, 2012 at 3:01pm

Sitting in the aiport in Grand Junction, Colorado and read Perry's blog post while surfing the web.  Came across this article and thought we might be in the same boat if this fee business isn't stopped immediately.  Then I'll bet you will hear wailing and gnashing of teeth by the Sevier County busineses when this day comes to the Smokies.

http://www.cnn.com/2012/01/11/travel/national-parks-free-admission/...

Comment by L. Perry Fuqua on January 13, 2012 at 4:27pm

Question: have we seen this report before on the (or the other) P(H)ee-ass-KO blog?  It regards the several Congressional initiatives of 1978-80 restricting fee collection ... " that were challenged by then office of the President such that "Under even greater pressure to cut domestic spending, they saw park fees as a logical way of offsetting general revenue appropriations for this discretionary category of the Federal budget." *

*National Park Service: History of Visitor Fees

I'm sure this has already been seen by many viewers but today I am reminded why this blog has survived so many months of hashing.  It is because we have seen our elected officials time and again fail to see the bigger picture (the one beyond there immediate need to be reelected).  So now the poor few hikers who go farther from their car to camp for a night or two or three ...should have to pay a "fee" to supplement the funding of GSMNP personnel.  They chose the wrong group of people to wring out enough money to fund 2 "backcountry exclusive" Rangers because there will not be enough $$$ generated by said fees to do the job.  If this FEE passes and is implemented, the major opinion is that the amount of money charged will just increase again and again to the point where it is no longer a privilege to visit the Public Lands.  On the contrary it becomes a burden, a burden on the real people who take care of other hikers wherever they go.  So if this damn proposal becomes a fee-in-hand for NPS-GSMNP forget about it.  

Keep up the fight for more responsible ideas from Federal employees, especially U.S. Congressmen and Senators. 

Comment by John Quillen on January 12, 2012 at 7:52pm

Doc Hastings is the same guy who had no response when I emailed him about the backcountry fee proposal.  He is suddenly very concerned about the oceans.  Must mean some salmon fishery is about to get squeezed.

Comment by Joey Bridges on January 12, 2012 at 4:14pm

Witnesses Begrudge Lack of Public Participation............................

http://naturalresources.house.gov/News/DocumentSingle.aspx?Document...

Comment by Joey Bridges on January 8, 2012 at 8:30pm

does jarvis actually think the public is stupid enough to believe his lies ???

Comment by John Quillen on January 8, 2012 at 10:43am

http://www.takepart.com/article/2011/11/14/coke-beats-bottled-water...

Looks like Corporations win again with the National Park Service.

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