Recent comments

  • There Likely Is A National Park Fee Increase In Your Future...   3 days 20 hours ago

    Kurt, I'm sure this is an oversight but the website above is not the Southern Forest Watch. It is not affiliated with the Southern Forest Watch and neither are my opinions. That site is an independent backpacking website owned by a private individual. My opinions are my own and the expressions on southernhighlanders are not those of the SFW. And Gary has been given multiple opportunities to voice his opinions there.

  • There Likely Is A National Park Fee Increase In Your Future...   3 days 20 hours ago

    I understand Kurt.. I just think it's important to note that because I have stated opinions on this site, these guys use what I say here as an attempt to drum up attacks and intimidate me and my family. They are not rational people. They have also done and threatened quite a few others in the Smokies, so if you can understand why I do not like these guys, this is why. I do not behave like them. But i'm not afraid to call them out on their comments and misinformation.

    And for the record, I do spend more than 13 weeks in the Smokies, and document a lot of different subjects. The phenology that i've captured and documented will be utilized for a long time, well after i've moved on.

  • There Likely Is A National Park Fee Increase In Your Future...   3 days 20 hours ago

    Here you go Kurt, please take a moment, and read this link. It showcase the form of harassment, and bullying that John Quillen posts about me constantly. The online bullying and harassment from this guy is noted. He uses his blogs to harass and try to intimidate anyone that disagrees with him, just because of the things I say here on this site, which are from ME, and not from the GSMA, or from the NPS. I speak for myself here, and he's twisted it into something else.

    http://www.southernhighlanders.com/kephart_shelter%2014.html

    Notice, how I can't respond to his page, so i'll just respond to it here. Considering this guy is a taxpayer funded drug counselor at a local school district, one would expect that he exhibits at least some sort of role model type qualities, that isn't based on harrassment, online bullying, and attempting to coerce and try to intimidate people but then again, Tennessee's educational system is ranked at the bottom of the country, so I can't expect much.

  • There Likely Is A National Park Fee Increase In Your Future...   3 days 20 hours ago

    Gary, we certainly don't endorse or promote the approach taken on SFW, but we also don't intend to see/let the Traveler turn into a sounding board for personal grudges/disputes that have nothing to do with the site's content.

  • There Likely Is A National Park Fee Increase In Your Future...   3 days 20 hours ago

    Here is one of my permits, Gary.

    http://www.southernhighlanders.com/mybigpermit.jpg

    And here is a chart that shows the steady increase in NPS budgets from 2008 to 2012 with a slight dip in 13 that doesn't take in stimulus spending which skews the chart.

    http://www.southernhighlanders.com/tumblr_inline_mkwbq8FAP21qz4rgp.jpg

    And regarding pay for service, do we have to pay the police every time they arrest someone? How about the fire dept when they put out our house fire?

    And by the way, there must be a whole lot of free time over at the GSMA today. Bet folks would appreciate knowing their contributions are being put to such good use.

  • There Likely Is A National Park Fee Increase In Your Future...   3 days 21 hours ago

    Post your permits... Come on. What is fair is fair. Quit being a flip-flopping-flop-flipper, and post your permits. I whipped out mine. And seriously, I don't have a reputation for going up to people and trying to get into fights with them. Can't say the same about you, since I know of two such accounts.

  • There Likely Is A National Park Fee Increase In Your Future...   3 days 21 hours ago

    Smokies

    Services like police and fire or military are "insurance" services. Everyone pays in so those services are there in case they are needed - everyone is being protected. Roads are paid for through gasoline taxes and registration fees so it is indeed the users that are the primary funders. You want to charge a dollar a book at a library, I don't have a problem with that. You hold the book longer than two weeks you should and do pay a fee.

    Why is the NPS exempted from responsible mgmt of budgets when other federal agencies are not and they are about the only one that charges user fees in addition?

    It shouldn't be exempt from responsible mgmt. I never claimed it should. Finally, I would like to know what agencies you have in mind that dont charge user fees.

  • There Likely Is A National Park Fee Increase In Your Future...   3 days 21 hours ago

    If we could end the personal bickering, it would be appreciated by a great many.

  • There Likely Is A National Park Fee Increase In Your Future...   3 days 21 hours ago

    Gary, I am flattered that you also follow my weekly backcountry adventures. An unfortunate side effect was that I had to quit broadcasting my weekly movements in advance so folks like you would quit showing up at my camp unannounced.

  • There Likely Is A National Park Fee Increase In Your Future...   3 days 21 hours ago

    The NPS has seen budget reductions. Boy, you just continue to prove that anyone can post anything on the internet as fact, when it's not true.

  • There Likely Is A National Park Fee Increase In Your Future...   3 days 21 hours ago

    Noted ec and Lee. Thanks. Gobbs of wishfull thinking.

  • There Likely Is A National Park Fee Increase In Your Future...   3 days 21 hours ago

    Sure, no problem, John Quillen. Here you go. It's not the most recent, but it's a weekend outing with the family we took over labor day.

    http://www.infininaut.com/permit-copy.jpg

    Since we are whipping out permits, go ahead and post all the recent permits from your recent exploits in the Smokies. You tend to showcase a lot of people (more than what is legally allowable) hanging out at your backcountry bon fires, so let's make sure you are also doing things legally!

  • There Likely Is A National Park Fee Increase In Your Future...   3 days 21 hours ago

    The flawed logic here is thus: Should you pay the library every time you check out a library book? Should the police get paid additionally every time they arrest someone? Should we pay the highway dept a supplement every time they repave a road? The NPS budgets have steadily increased while other entities have seen budget reductions and they send folks out here to argue for supplementing their taxpayer funded bureau with user fees? It is a ridiculous point. Why is the NPS exempted from responsible mgmt of budgets when other federal agencies are not and they are about the only one that charges user fees in addition? It is as ridiculous as the NPS claims that the Smokies receives 9 million visits per year. Everyone knows that 9 million cars that pass the clicker twice (once from the casino in Cherokee and the next time from the ko cart track in Gatlinburg) gets counted as a visitor despite the fact that most never even leave their car. But it is data they use to cry for more funds. Very convenient NPS math.

  • There Likely Is A National Park Fee Increase In Your Future...   3 days 21 hours ago

    Oh my goodness!

    I have to agree 100% with ec's post.

    It must be Friday or something.

  • There Likely Is A National Park Fee Increase In Your Future...   3 days 21 hours ago

    But Katie, park entrance fees have no relation whatsoever with lodging fees. Although I agree completely that fees for spending a night in most park accomodations are outlandish, those are not a fee charged by the park.

    And Steve, let's not try to place all the blame on Jon Jarvis. NPS directors as far back as Steve Mather have had the same problem. That's a complaint you need to take up with your Congressperson.

  • There Likely Is A National Park Fee Increase In Your Future...   3 days 21 hours ago

    Steve, I am 100% with you when it comes to government waste. Certainly the NPS itself spends monies voluntarily and by fiat unnessisarily as evidenced here in the discussions about inappropriate units or employee resistence to the use of volunteers. Even so, that is not a reason to suggest that the Parks should be 100% free any more than it would be to demand every government service be free - after all you (or some of you) paid taxes that go to all government services.

    The closer we can get the payer of the service to the user of the service the better. Fees, while inevitably imperfect, move us towards that goal.

  • There Likely Is A National Park Fee Increase In Your Future...   3 days 21 hours ago

    Then it should be no problem for you, Gary, to produce a copy of your most recent backcountry permit for us to view?

    prediction: He will talk about all his dayhiking exploits and provide no proof of backcountry camping in the park. Then do some more name calling.

  • There Likely Is A National Park Fee Increase In Your Future...   3 days 21 hours ago

    There's quite a lot of evidence. I have terrabytes worth of footage, a few movies, and thousands of pictures worth of evidence. In fact, Kurt posted an article about me on this site in which they talk about my exploits in the backcountry. I've also done quite a few presentations around the region in regards to my exploration through photos and videos around the country. Regardless, i'm not here to impress the propaganda greenhorns of the urban jungles of knoxville.

  • There Likely Is A National Park Fee Increase In Your Future...   3 days 21 hours ago

    Me too Sabattis and that is my point. We do contribute to the necessities you've outlined with the taxes we pay. Unfortunately it seems that Director Jarvis is unable to convince the Budget Committee of the basic needs of our National Park system. This seeming inability results in the default proposals to enact additional taxes in the from of fees on the citizens. I want the Director to work harder to garner the support of those who allocate the funds for our National Parks. If he cannot then step aside and let someone else do the job.

    Some will take a stand and with great detail point out how paltry these fees are and how the reward and experience is well worth the expence. Point noted and fully appreciated. I have been to many National Parks (besides GSM) and paid the fees and can readily recall those life experiences. It was worth every penny.

    However, it disgusts me to see the unimanageable amount of wasteful spending for things of far less importance than that of our natural monuments. Please don't compare a $25.00 entry fee with the billions upon billions of tax dollars vanishing into the vortex of governmental wasteful spending. All of the "units", in my heart and mind, should be financed as required and without fees at all.

    Get busy Director Jarvis. The natural wonders of the country are waiting as are we.

  • There Likely Is A National Park Fee Increase In Your Future...   3 days 22 hours ago

    Then why are the people who are using the visitor centers and their bathrooms not having to put a dollar in the slot to get the doors to open? I'll tell you why. Because it would create outrage and the NPS knows better than to set up such an obviously ridiculous symbol that would be the butt of editorial cartoons all over. So they just nickel and dime the backcountry folks. So ironic to hear Wilson talk about backcountry camping. I've seen no evidence he's ever spent a single night in the Smokies backcountry. But thanks for educating us, Gary.

    And the name calling is outrageous. One thing is for sure. Every time he shows up on a thread the ad hominum attacks begin and the thread gets shut down. Last time I checked, this article was about fee increases and he turns it into personal attacks of individuals and groups yet again.

  • There Likely Is A National Park Fee Increase In Your Future...   3 days 23 hours ago

    I'm happy to have all taxpayers pay towards the basic protection of a park area - law enforcement, resource management, poaching prevention, etc. However, visitation isn't "free" regardless of whether a user fee is charged or not. Visitor centers, tour roads, trail maintenance, and ranger programs all cost money - and the more people who visit, the more these things cost. It only makes sense to make the people who are actually visiting contribute to covering the additional costs of their visit.

  • There Likely Is A National Park Fee Increase In Your Future...   4 days 29 min ago

    For a bunch of supposed backpackers, you can visit one of these preserved natural gems in the West for well under 50.00, if you choose. Yellowstone cost 25.00 to get in, and 25.00 for a backcountry permit. Yosemite cost 25.00 to get in, then a 5.00 permit registration fee, and 5.00 per night per person to visit the backcountry, although depending on your route permits are limited, but you'll always be able to do something there because not all zones get filled. Grand Canon cost 10.00 for a permit registration, then 5.00 per night. Then there are other parks where the fee is 10.00 to get in, and backcountry camping is free, but you still need a permit. By comparison, the Smokies doesn't even have a registration fee, and is just 4.00 per night, and in my opinion it's a Group 1 park, like the other three mentioned. If you can't afford 50.00 to spend a week in a place, then your biggest concern shouldn't be hiking.. As for staying in hotels. Yes, there is very limited lodging availability in our parks, so your best and cheaper options are staying outside of the park, or getting a tent.. Inside the park, it can be 10 to 25.00 to get a campsite. Even if you spent 5 days in Yellowstone at one of the more developed campgrounds, that's just 125.00 to spend the week there. That's at least 2 nights in a cheap 1 star roach motel, or one night in one with at least a 4 star rating. Yes, such elitism at play...

  • There Likely Is A National Park Fee Increase In Your Future...   4 days 8 hours ago

    In the early days of the National Parks only the wealthy few could afford the time and effort required to visit them. So they were enclaves of the elite. After WWII and through the Mission 66 years they became accessible to people of more limited means. With the new and increased fees that emerged under Fee Demo that pendulum began to swing back.

    These new increases, and the "pay to play" philosophy that underlies them, bring us full circle. Once again the Parks are becoming enclaves for the elite few who can afford $200 a night for a cabin on the north rim of Grand Canyon, or $600+ for the Bracebridge Dinner at the Ahwahnee in Yosemite.

    More than most people I fully understand the difference between National Parks and National Forests.

    The Parks are where the fee stations are.

  • There Likely Is A National Park Fee Increase In Your Future...   4 days 8 hours ago

    You guys obviously don't understand the difference between a national park and a national forest. To you it's all the same and you think the rules and regulations should be the same that you find in the lesser managed places that let you do what you want. And seriously horse use and the rules legislating them are a lot less strict in the National Forest areas... Are you guys really just trying to mess with people? Sometimes I wonder, if all the misinformation and garbage spewed on this site 24/7 is just one big joke to you. Because it's evident many of you have little understanding about why National parks are held at higher levels of resource protection, and seem to want others to just buy into rampant conspiracy theories that you can find on any teaparty.com site. One would expect that the readership here would have a better comprehension of land management, and understand the differences between the various organizations that manage public lands, but I assumed too much, and that's definitely my fault.

    And once again, to these Tennessee residents, that can only whine about how bad it is in the smokies - seriously, it's getting old. Your fiddle has worn out. I realize most of you have never been anywhere else in the national park system, so you aren't used to having to pay for anything. Your extent of the NPS world is perhaps big south fork, and cumberland gap, where everything is also free, so you just beat the same old drum, and this site is constantly stuck in the same old whiney rhythms day-in-and-day-out, because a few of you refuse to learn something about other areas, or try to comprehend the importance of the public lands that you actually have in your back yard. You think this public land is just supposed to sit there and be free, and youre wrong - it comes with a cost to manage public lands, and if you think public lands don't need managed, then you are very delusional. I think Megaera's comment were right on. But, Megaera the problem with that is some of these boys don't want to be contributors and they EXPECT others to pay and hand everything to them. It's an entitlement mentality that dates back a little more than a hundred some years, and it's just how they were raised..

  • There Likely Is A National Park Fee Increase In Your Future...   4 days 9 hours ago

    "I've seen many of the National Forests around this region. A lot of them are trashed, compared to what you find in national parks"

    Yeah, i've seen the ghetto trail shelters with their privies and mile after mile of absolutely horrid muddy swamps from horseback riders too. Which i might add is far worse than any trail conditions i've ever encountered in a national forest as of now. And i don't think we need to even talk about trees being cut after that one certain article that was on here.

    "People who use the parks should pay for their use, the same way people who drive pay a gas tax to build and repair roads."

    So using your own two feet to travel, using no amenities is grounds for a fee? Okay, sure, if you drive a road in a park or use facilities that cost money to maintain. But even then if and only if they have stretched their dollars to the bare minimum first, which often isn't the case.