Hey pmike I am with you on this. I put in my first ever FOIA request on this issue. The park said they were inundated with complaints from citizens about the backcountry so I did a Freedom of Info Act request for all the complaints related to backcountry camping they had received in the past three years and here is what I got back:
There are 27 pages in this doc but only 15 total "complaints" over 3 years or about 5 complaints per year. Most of the complaints have nothing to do with backcountry camping. The reason it was 27 pages is most of it was several handwritten pages which look like casual trail maintainer reports from Morgan Briggs talking about water bars and horse damage and such. After I got this info the park never mentioned "numerous backcountry complaints" again and instead switched over to the mantra that the fee was going to pay for a "better reservation system" ie a fee to pay for collecting a fee.
Some further irony here Morgan Briggs happens to be against the fee (see this WBIR interview): http://www.wbir.com/news/article/180...-proposed-fees
This is a case where some local folks dug deeper and clearly found the road to build the fees was surveyed by a wandering cow.