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 August 4, 2019 at 3:46pm

I was in Nashville for the past few days and googled up somewhere that I could squeeze in a trail run in between conferences. I settled on Radnor Lake State park.  When I got there, all suited up for a round the lake loop, you can imagine my surprise when I encountered this sign at the trailhead.

And I was curious, if anyone has ever "run into" this sort of restriction at a Tennessee State Park?  In my mind, I rationalized that it was a Nashville thing because I don't see any East TN residents ever standing for any such ridiculousness.  Take a look at what else is not allowed.  Next, you won't even be allowed to walk in there.

Comment by Mike Thorpe on July 23, 2019 at 11:44am

Sounds like a suspect situation at best , gee might the whole bunch of them be covering each other's backsides? I sure hope the suit goes through! I suspect it might open a flood tide of interesting revelations about some of their underhanded tactics and backroom dealings!

Comment by John Quillen on July 23, 2019 at 10:46am


Good to hear from you. I had heard through the grapevine, that one of the kids was the son of a law enforcement official. Could be pure scuttlebutt, but you never know.

Comment by Mike Thorpe on July 23, 2019 at 10:33am

PS: Does anyone have any idea why or how those kids charged with starting the fire, got off so quickly and completely? Seems odd to me as if they may have had something on someone? I cannot imagine that they were not charged or convicted of anything???

Comment by Mike Thorpe on July 23, 2019 at 10:30am

Howdy Folks! It's been awhile since I have posted, but am with y'all in spirit. Atone time I read that the entire situation was aggravated if not in part caused, by some of the flunkies starting a (failed attempt) at a back fire. Has any further evidence or information come of this that you know of? It seems that at the least there is evidence of gross negligence on the part of those in the park service who are supposed to be responsible and act accordingly...I sincerely pray that this and any other suits go forward!

Comment by Dustin M on July 23, 2019 at 7:55am

Cassius Cash was supposed to be a top notch wildland firefighter but turned out to be an Obama era grossly negligent token Superintendent

Someone start a , 'Storm the Quarry: They can't stop us all' Event on Facebook  

Comment by John Quillen on July 23, 2019 at 7:24am

We should start a betting pool on how the judge will rule on this. I'm guessing they will find a way to favor the Smokies management in spite of overwhelming evidence of negligence.

Comment by John Quillen on June 10, 2019 at 1:17pm

I love it, Dustin!  Amphibious landing on the Quarry.  I could see River Sports chasing us around on their paddleboards!

Comment by Jo Neuspickel on June 10, 2019 at 12:51pm

We have a canoe!!

Comment by Dustin M on June 10, 2019 at 12:49pm

How about we all bring our kayaks and charge the Quarry, they'll have to reload before they get us all

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