Fred--I have fought against this boondoggle tooth and nail and probably have at least 200 hours time in it. I was one of four people who put together a petition of protest (we garnered over 500 signatures in a very short time--the Park only had a 30 day comment period and they changed that in mid-stream). [The Park Service], in what I consider a disgraceful approach, dismissed it and one other petition as nothing more. [They] didn't both to let the public know that the comments on the matter ran 19 to 1 against the fees. Nor [have they] been truthful with the public.
I would not, without indisputable evidence, accuse [them] of deceit. Yet that is precisely what has happened. The whole argument for fees was predicated on an "overcrowded" backcountry when in truth camping is down dramatically since peak years in the mid-1990s. Likewise, those who said there were constant complaints of abuses in the backcountry were blowing smoke. As I've said elsewhere on the forum, a FOIA request, seemingly the only way to get to the truth with Ditmanson, revealed precisely 15 complaints in three years. The majority of them dealt with issues other than camping.
Bully for you for doing this, and rest assured my efforts, and those of others, will not stop. I am deeply disappointed and disgusted with Park leadership, and I know thousands of others are as well. It is abundantly manifest that the views of those who love the Park and are some of its finest advocates mean nothing. We were ignored, but the fight is not over.
Incidentally, although I haven't personally confirmed this, several people have contacted me and indicated that my book on fishing in the Park has suddenly disappeared from the shelves of Park visitor centers. If so, I guess I'm paying the price for saying what I think. If that's the case, so be it.