Recent comments

  • Effort To Overturn Backcountry User Fee At Great Smoky Mountains National Park Fails   2 hours 1 min ago

    For the continual "Blackberry Farms Deniers" out there. Here is a quote and newslink.

    In a letter dated June 13, 2014 from Chief Ranger Clayton Jordan to Blackberry Farm Executive Vice President Matt Alexander, it is clear the park service has been aware of trails maintained by Blackberry Farms since 2009.

    http://wate.membercenter.worldnow.com/story/26631327/watchdog-group-alleges-blackberry-farm-cutting-private-trails-into-smokies

    Having been there and seen it myself, I still anxiously await the oft touted scouting report we have all been hearing about for over a year now to prove it doesn't exist. That all these media outlets, including NPT, are apparently lying about.

  • Effort To Overturn Backcountry User Fee At Great Smoky Mountains National Park Fails   3 hours 39 min ago

    There is no campsite, as far as I know no "well",and probably no credible claims of hikers cutting down trees on the former guvnah's property.

  • Effort To Overturn Backcountry User Fee At Great Smoky Mountains National Park Fails   3 hours 43 min ago

    So, am I allowed to say God bless America?

  • Effort To Overturn Backcountry User Fee At Great Smoky Mountains National Park Fails   3 hours 58 min ago

    Okay folks, we'll ask that you tone down the personal references, and stick to the primary subject at hand. Kurt has enlisted some volunteer help with moderation, so we'll do our best to keep things civil and focused. Several recent comments have been edited, and one unpublished. If you feel we're being too restrictive, our apologies, but we're doing our best to encourage a responsible conversation.

  • Effort To Overturn Backcountry User Fee At Great Smoky Mountains National Park Fails   4 hours 2 min ago

    Whatever. What if someone came on your property started drinking all your well water, and cutting down your trees for firewood? Would you like it?

  • Effort To Overturn Backcountry User Fee At Great Smoky Mountains National Park Fails   4 hours 15 min ago

    Blackberry farms and Sundquist were not part of the suit. They were only examples of the gross mismanagement of the administration. I am no lawyer, but it is my understanding that if someone uses a road,path or highway across your property, and you do not object to it in a certain period of time then it is an acknowledged route. Of course in the case of the imperial feral government,and the former guvnah, what does the law have to do with anything? (This comment has been edited slightly to remove language intended to bait other participants. Ed. staff.)

  • Effort To Overturn Backcountry User Fee At Great Smoky Mountains National Park Fails   4 hours 56 min ago

    Blackberry Farms, as well as the trail relocation off of private property were either mere diversions to skirt from the main issue, or these guys are very lost in delusions of grandeur .... It's funny listening to these guys though. They lost the suit, and in the judges ruling they labeled in black and white that most of these falsehoods were inaccurate, and they still go on like their word is gospel.... [perhaps] they are just trying to pull the wool over peoples eyes to divert attention to their organization by pretending they have some vast understanding of the "wrongdoings between Superintendents and the kings and aristocrats" when it's evident it's just a bunch of powder puff fluff. (This comment has been edited slightly to remove disparaging language. Ed. staff)

  • Effort To Overturn Backcountry User Fee At Great Smoky Mountains National Park Fails   5 hours 12 min ago

    The only information I have about the Blackberry Farms question is what's in the court document, and the judge didn't identify any lingering issues. You're correct, private parties should never have the right to "cut their own trail" in a park. Yes, it sounds like the resort did some unauthorized maintenance on a previously existing trail - which is much different from "cutting their own trails on NPS land" - and they put up some signs on NPS property that should not have been there. Should not have happened, but ironically, park visitors seem to have benefitted from a trail that was in better condition that it was under park maintenance. I believe some SFW folks are the same ones who complain about the park not getting trails reopened fast enough after storm damage :-)

    It seems significant even the NPS staff wasn't sure exactly where the park boundary was in this area as it affects this trail until the ranger got a top quality GPS from the lands office. In heavily wooded and mountainout terrain, such boundary questions don't seem to be uncommon. The court did not find, as the SFW claimed, that the resort gave any impression they treated the trail as their "private" route.

    The court seems satisfied the park staff resolved this issue by working with the adjacent landowner, which is how such problems should be handled if at all possible. It's interesting that some who criticize the park for not taking a heavier-handed approach in this situation have also been quick to criticize the staff as being too focused on "law enforcement" when it comes to other activities.

  • Opening Of Glacier Point Road At Yosemite National Park Earliest In Recent Memory   5 hours 14 min ago

    And Californians would perhaps have welcomed some of the East's snows, to help ease the drought....

  • Effort To Overturn Backcountry User Fee At Great Smoky Mountains National Park Fails   5 hours 53 min ago

    It's ok JThomas that you ignore the public comments, though. Best to try and attack something else. Like Blackberry Farms, those kinds of elephants in the room are quite glaring. I suppose there are two types of people in the world. Folks who are concerned that a private resort can cut their own trails on NPS land, and those who don't.

  • Effort To Overturn Backcountry User Fee At Great Smoky Mountains National Park Fails   5 hours 56 min ago

    [AR 257]. Although there are no written notes or other documentation of these contacts, the presumption of regularity afforded to agencies leads the Court to conclude that defendants did what they claim to have done.

    A federal judge trusts the NPS, a federal bureaucrat. RAT is the key word here.

  • Effort To Overturn Backcountry User Fee At Great Smoky Mountains National Park Fails   5 hours 57 min ago

    Reading the court document left the clear impression the judge was seriously underwhelmed about trail issues at Blackberry Farms or the Ace Gap Trail. If there was a smoking gun at Blackberry Farms, it was a BB gun, and the issues seem to have been resolved.

    Information on pages 14 - 16 of the court document about the relocation of a section of the Ace Gap Trail leaves me wondering why this was an issue at all as part of this lawsuit. According to that document, a section of the trail left park land and crossed private property for about 500 feet, then returned to park land. The landowner, not unreasonably, requested that it be relocated off of his property, and the park hired a surveyor to determine where the boundary was located. The subsequent trail relocation first went through the standard NEPA review.

    It doesn't matter who the landowner is in such cases. If it had been my property, I'd likely have had the same request. The park's approach, cited in the testimony, seems very reasonable: "...it has been the practice of the Park to voluntarily relocate sections of a trail from private land to Park land when a landowner requests such action and when there is reasonable evidence that the trail is indeed on private land ....this practice is based on a respect for private property and a landowner’s legitimate concerns about trespass, privacy, liability, and potential vandalism."

    If the park had ignored any such request from an adjoining landowner to correct what amounted to trespass on private property, then there would be ample cause for complaint about the feds co-opting private land for public use. Sounds like the NPS did the right thing in this case, so where's the beef?

    I don't believe the judge used the word "frivolous" to describe the Blackberry Farms and Ace Gap Trail "complaints," but that word sure came to my mind after reading the above document.

  • Effort To Overturn Backcountry User Fee At Great Smoky Mountains National Park Fails   6 hours 14 min ago

    The Great American Entitlement Syndrome is on full display here.

  • Concessionaires Want More Investment, Business Opportunities, In National Parks   6 hours 20 min ago

    Owen is right. Encourage people to get OUT into the park. I'm always amazed by the pitiful people parked in a campground like Norris watching satellite TV while just a few feet away trumpeter swans and otters swim in the Gibbon River and a herd of elk is venturing into the meadow. Pitiful people only because they have no idea what they are missing.

    Then again, while they stay indoors other folks may quietly enjoy the scenery without a lot of noise from other people.

    But still . . . .

  • Concessionaires Want More Investment, Business Opportunities, In National Parks   6 hours 29 min ago

    Just a reminder to folks reading in these pages. The "NPS are all bad and always wrong" crowd only seems prolific because a few loud activists burn up limited space here in a modest forum. In the Real World their opinions are very much a minority.

    You can pretty well tell by the venom in the comments that they aren't here for open discussion and don't appear capable of having their minds changed.

  • Effort To Overturn Backcountry User Fee At Great Smoky Mountains National Park Fails   6 hours 47 min ago

    Kudos to NPS and the judge on this ruling. Those who use should pay for the privilege (NOT a right). Complaining about $4/night? Please!

  • Effort To Overturn Backcountry User Fee At Great Smoky Mountains National Park Fails   6 hours 59 min ago

    Gary - reading your comments reminded me that you were going to discredit the claim of private trails cut by Bberry Farms via personal inspection, GPS, etc.. Did you make it out there? Curious what you found.

  • Effort To Overturn Backcountry User Fee At Great Smoky Mountains National Park Fails   7 hours 23 min ago

    The judge also stated in his ruling that the comment period wasn't a "popular vote". I guess, i'm the only one that must have read that. And it was part of his decision. He actually reflected on this point quite a bit. As i've already stated, if local decision making was a key part to how NPs were ran, there would be no NPs.

  • Effort To Overturn Backcountry User Fee At Great Smoky Mountains National Park Fails   8 hours 33 min ago

    If you didn't live within 50 miles of the park you probably never heard anything about the proposed fee. I'm guessing a good number of backcountry users fall into that category. As to "the Smokies have been an exception to the rules" that is one of the reasons we fought this fee. I believe there may be more parks that don't charge than do, but what really bothers us is that we have always been told that the park would be "forever free" for residents of TN/NC because so many had to give up their land. We should have looked at the Cherokees and realized what the feral government's word is worth. We are not going away ...

  • Effort To Overturn Backcountry User Fee At Great Smoky Mountains National Park Fails   8 hours 45 min ago

    Voter turnout for elections is what? way under 50% in many cases? Just because a large number remain silent does not mean they could care less. Right or wrong it seems a lot of folks just don't feel like their say has any bearing ( which is evident in this case as true). An even bigger percentage i would say simply didn't know how to respond or even knew about the fee at all. In fact there was not a great deal of press about this at local levels much less on a greater scale. Even the judge seemed to agree this was not handled as well as it could have been.

  • Effort To Overturn Backcountry User Fee At Great Smoky Mountains National Park Fails   9 hours 3 min ago

    The public comment period was shortened as to disenfranchise negative input and discount users. Having attended one of the sham open house meetings, there was no mechanism for counting folks or capturing their comments at the open house. It consisted of the Superintendent Ditmanson walking around and doing a sell job on the fee along with his cronies, none of which are still at Great Smoky Mtns anymore.

  • Effort To Overturn Backcountry User Fee At Great Smoky Mountains National Park Fails   9 hours 10 min ago

    The number of public comments, JTHomas was over 1000. And the NPS tried to keep all 856 of the negative from the public by various tactics, not the least of which was an attempted economic rape. See for yourself. http://www.knoxnews.com/news/gosmokies/avid-smokies-hiker-seeks-access-to-comments-over

  • Effort To Overturn Backcountry User Fee At Great Smoky Mountains National Park Fails   9 hours 31 min ago

    apparently could care less about the issue.

    Or had no clue it was happening or how to respond. .

  • Effort To Overturn Backcountry User Fee At Great Smoky Mountains National Park Fails   9 hours 45 min ago

    I have no personal stake in this issue, although I can sympathize both with those who oppose the fee and the park staff which was trying to find new source of funds. That said, I have to be a bit amused at the discussion about the "voices of the majority" being ignored on this issue.

    According to the court's finding (link above) a total "of least 30 people attended" one of two open houses on the proposed fee, and "at least 40 people" attended the other. During the period for written comments, the NPS received a whopping 230 written comments on the proposal.

    Most of those comments were against the proposed fee, but the reality seems to be that a rather small but very vocal group was opposed to this fee....and the rest of the world, including thousands of backcountry users (a reported 86,153 of them in 2014) apparently could care less about the issue.

    If you believe SFW anecdotal's numbers rather than the park's number of users, and then seriously reduce the park's number's by 75%, you'd still have 21,000+ backcountry users in just one year who were silent, not to mention what we're told was an even larger number in recent years. Where were they when this proposal was being debated? Absent their groundswell of complaints, this seems to a bit of a tempest in a teapot.

    I'd prefer the fee be abandoned, but the reality seems to be the "majority" of either the citizens in general or those directly affected by the fee don't seem to care.

  • Concessionaires Want More Investment, Business Opportunities, In National Parks   10 hours 9 min ago

    I do not believe any contradiction was made. I clearly stated both amenities and bare bones should be made available and each charged accordingly.

    For those of you opposed TV and wifi, I can assure you that you are in the minority. You've never dealt with guests in the park when either or both of these items aren't available. And even some hikers want a way to unwind one the hike is over. People can and do become very hostile.