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Tennessee's House Of Representatives Opposes Backcountry Fee At Great Smoky Mountains National Park


In its biggest political coup to date, a group fighting the backcountry fees charged at Great Smoky Mountains National Park has gotten the backing of the Tennessee State House of Representatives.

In a proclamation adopted April 9, the House expressed its "opposition to the imposition of any backcountry camping fees in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park that are not directly associated with the use of amenities or a commercial purpose and strongly urge an immediate appeal of any such imposed fee."

Previously, the Knox County (Tennessee) Commission, as well the commissions in Bradley and Blount counties in Tennessee and Swain County in North Carolina, condemned the fee and called for its repeal.

The backcountry fee of $4 per night per person, with a $20 per person cap per trip, took effect February 13. It is intended by park officials to help streamline and improve the backcountry permitting process and heighten the presence of rangers in the backcountry.

Pinched by an inadequate budget and unable to charge an entrance fee for any of the roughly 9 million yearly visitors, park officials say they see no way of improving visitor services and protecting backcountry resources without charging users who spend the night in the woods.

The park can't charge an entrance fee because the state of Tennessee, when it agreed to transfer land to the federal government for the park, essentially forbade it.

"By condemning and calling for a repeal of this hugely unpopular and specious tax on backcountry users, the State of Tennessee has proven its intent to provide a voice for citizens that was ignored by the National Park Service as evidenced in the public comments that tallied 18-1 in opposition to the fee," said a statement from Southern Forest Watch, a non-profit group organized to lobby for the fee's repeal.


I have to note that Big Cypress requested permission to begin public discussion of raising fees but they put it off for a year. It should be coming soon but they have been working on hunting management instead.

I still don't get where you (SmikesBackpacker) think the falsehoods exist or why you think they exist. It seems to me that, no matter what, you believe what you believe and nothing will change your mind. That is all well and good but, if you read what you posted and linked to, you might relax a little on your position. A lot of the data I got from Southern Forest Watch and the documents they uploaded. My statement above about the Secretary (the part in quotes) came from YOUR post. You obviously didn't read it either.

SmokiesBackpacker -- you stated "You have successfully derailed the conversation here from the article which is the Tn State House of Representatives Condeming the fee to the lawsuit over the fee."

The first person to bring the lawsuit into this discussion, back on the 1st page, is . . . SmokiesBackpacker who said: "It would be a very, very smart move, especially in light of the lawsuit pending over this fee which could have implications for the entirety of the NPS."

Tennessee Backpacker -- you asked: "How else to you fight tyranny?"

You and I apparently disagree as to whether or not this situation really involves tyranny. And I expect we also disagree on the value of war.


You have successfully derailed the conversation here from the article which is the Tn State House of Representatives Condeming the fee to the lawsuit over the fee. Whenever someone posts that they object to the lies from the park superintendent as evidenced by the Tn Proclamation, and several county proclamations, you go back to the lawsuit. This article IS about public sentiment over the fee, which is TOTALLY REJECTED by the public. I am beginning to realize that the NPS is very, very concerned about this lawsuit by observing all the energy that is being put into it over here. That makes me quite happy. I'll bet there are a lot of moustaches out of joint.

dahkota -- "I just really enjoy finding out facts and being able to back them up."

For all the references you are providing, thank you dahkota. I have a great deal of respect for research, facts, and objective assessment. Too much of this lawsuit seems to be about emotional upset and accusation without a sufficient or clear basis in facts and objective research.


"...descending into bitter warring?..."

How else to you fight tyranny?


Did they Big Cypress publicly put out falsehoods and false statements also?

The public comment period was 30 days. The same required throughout the rest of the government. I have no idea why you call that shortened.

He didn't say that there were no complaints from congressional representatives. He stated Swain County Commissioners were against it.

I am a researcher by trade. My job is data aquisition. What I research here is just an extension of what I do every day, though my 'day job' research is not NPS related. I just really enjoy finding out facts and being able to back them up.

It is interesting that Big Cypress also created and raised fees and yet using the same process and yet, there is little bluster about it.

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