Fred--The battle for the backcountry is by no means over. The edict may have come down from Sugarlands but I for one will not take it lightly. Nor would many others. More FOIA requests are in the works, and the ones already filed have revealed that the whole fee proposal was based on false information.
My greatest fear, and I don't think it is simple paranoia, is that this is a "foot in the door" to start charging Park users for anything and everything.
The argument that other parks charge is misleading, overly simplistic, and most of all, fails to recognize that the Smokies, unlike other national parks, involved extensive use of eminent domain AND not only great sacrifice but great contributions by locals. Guess who gets hurt most by fees? Locals.
It's a downright shame.