Could be worse...
Over the years I have dealt with the NPS on everything from closing off Walnut Bottoms and then closing off access to the Abrams Falls Trail parking area on Saturday morning to vehicle access (except bicycles), to the introduction of coyoteXgray wolf hybrids (the so-called “red wolves). I have never seen them budge an inch on anything. They are embedded in the system as steadfastly as privy dwelling rodents.
Actually, I believe it could be worse, and is likely to become so. They could have tacked on a $20 fee instead of just $4. They also are not demanding you carry out your droppings, which I am sure they have discussed. Lugged soled hiking boots are still permitted…for now. Bureaucrats are the least creative branch of humanity, the lone exception being when they are attempting to wax their authority at the expense of the people coughing up their salaries. It could be worse….
Oh well, I leave Friday for the Kentuckiana Fly Fishing Show in Louisville where I am giving a seminar on fly fishing in the GSMNP. Between the highway washing out and the backcountry permits, it should be a lively time. If you need to see me there, I can be reached at the Bourbon Room of the Brown Hotel—just look for the haze of cigar smoke.