I figured I should start a new post on this topic to keep from derailing the Fee thread since I'm going to rant a bit....
I keep seeing this quote in the news re: the hiker missing from the Bullhead View Quiet Walkway:
"Rangers became suspicious Tuesday afternoon when they noticed that a vehicle had been parked since Sunday at a quiet walkway along Newfound Gap Road about a mile south of the Sugarlands Visitor Center.
Park officials say that walkway does not connect to the Park's trail system, so there is no reason that backpackers would leave vehicles there overnight. The walkway is a short, easy, trail that extends into the woods a short distance off the road and then dead-ends at the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River."
(1) That trail does not dead-end, you can walk all along the river, all the way past the connector to the Huskey Gap parking lot (Riverview Quiet Walkway). You can go *at least* 2 miles along the river. Either they are purposefully not mentioning this to the public, or they have absolutely no clue, which is a scary thought. All they need is to look at the NatGeo map. Hopefully somebody out there knows what they're doing. Surely they didn't just go, 'oh well there's the river, turn around and go back'.
(2) We will now be considered suspicious and/or missing if we don't park in typical parking areas? I could totally park at Bullhead View QW and backpack along the river and over to Huskey Gap and stay at old #21 or new #21. "There is no reason to leave vehicles there." Uh, just because most people wouldn't choose that spot doesn't mean it should be suspicious in and of itself. Now I will worry that I HAVE to park in usual places or risk being the subject of a manhunt?! Or be accused of illegal camping?!
Maybe I'm overreacting, but this is what the public is being told.