Shawn and Tnflyfisher--Thanks for your supportive comments. I think most if not all of this brouhaha about fees could have been avoided had Park leadership simply shown common sense and sat down with concerned parties and stakeholders prior to ever broaching the concept (then arbitrarily ramming it down the public's throat never mind widespread opposition). I know that I personally would have traveled to a meeting to exchange views, air concerns, and seek a consensus. Apparently the Park doesn't want to do this, because as others have noted, the so-called public meetings for comment were a sham.
On a related matter, the only real problems with crowding come on trail shelters (they don't impact anglers much if at all). Yet I just today learned that a group known as A Walk in the Woods, apparently operating out of Gatlinburg, has 13 three-night trips along the Park portion of the AT scheduled in a 20-week period during the peak of camping activity. This is a for profit operation working in tandem with REI. What this in effect means is that on every trip they removed eight camper spots for that night. Do the math. That translates to 312 camper nights where others are, in effect, shut out of a spot if the site is full (and guess who makes their reservations far in advance?).
I have no problem with fishing outfitters taking small groups into spacious campsites such as Proctor on Hazel Creek, but it simply isn't right for Park licensees to get first dibs, all the while making money, at the expense of the general public. Predictiably, these folks were about the only voices speaking out in favor of the fees. Of cousre they just raise their charges, never mind the impact on locals. It's disgraceful.
Again, thanks for the support, and should Park leaders happen to read this, I stand ready, even eager, to discuss things. Just don't ram them down our throats with false information.
As for removal of my book, if it has been done (and even more folks tell me it has disappeared, well that's just petty. Never mind though, just get it directly from me or from the fine folks at Little River Outfitters who provide us this forum.