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Thread: Proposed fees for the Park

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    Knoxville, Tn
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    They can't guarantee that the money will be spent for back country enforcement. What if the inclusion of fee impacts the number of visitors? Now their revenue predictions are off and they don't have enough to pay for rangers.

    Here is one idea... Retask the rangers that sit up on the 18 mile stretch of foothills parkway between Walland and Chilhowee all day and let Blount county write tickets up there is they really want to.

    Even if they do get enough money from the proposed fee to have the two rangers they want and even if they dedicate 100% of their time to backcountry enforcement, with the 110ish shelters and sites, you will be lucky if each site is visited once every 30 days - so they will still get trashed out, and the odds of getting caught are about as high as the odds of a ranger seeing the people that throw trash out of their cars in the park.

    Encouraging responsible people to visit the backcountry as much as possible probably has far greater effects on the cleanliness of the sites. Yes we get pissed when the site has a bunch of food and trash left behind, but when we leave it is better shape than when we got there. If it becomes financially prohibitive to go into the back country, say twice a month, as many of us do, because we don't all have an extra $100 each month lying around to just pay camping fees and the amount of cleanup we do far surpasses the value of any small fee, we won't go as much, and trash will build up more than it already does. Losing the regular visits of the large number of regular, responsible visitors will have a far bigger detrimental consequence to the overall condition of the backcountry of the park than the positive benefits brought from having two dedicated backcountry rangers.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    SE Tennessee
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    644

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    NDuncan, I like your attitude. Clean up and leave it better than when you found it.
    I tell the students at my Hunter Ed classes to stuff a couple of plastic grocery bags in their pocket. They weigh nothing and can be used to pack out trash that some other trash left behind. My son and I were dove hunting over a TWRA lease field a few years ago. He found about two boxes of empty shells. I'm not the brightest candle on the cake but I know empty shell weigh less than full ones! We picked them up and put them in the trash when we got home.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    51

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    if the fee goes into effect, does that mean they will keep up with how many people will be camping at each campsite, each day? My question is, will the fee guarantee you a spot at the campsite? Because there will be a lot of unhappy campers if they paid to camp at a backcountry site and there is no room after a 6 mile hike and darkness looming.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    Knoxville, TN
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    944

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    It is sounding more and more like this is a done deal. My biggest concern is what this is going to do to our national forests. Goodbye NF solitude.

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Mooresville,NC
    Posts
    91

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    How can the politians from nc and tenn decide a fee or no fee. I thought it was a National Park not a two state park. I am totaly against charging a fee but like a shark that smells blood...once they smell dollars its hard to stop bureaucrats.
    Another note... we as fishermen and hunters are and have been paying a use fee for National Forests while hikers and others pay nothing. I had a friend who rode his horse on NC gamelands and got a ticket for not having a gamelands use permit. He beat it in court because there was no signs indicating that one was required. There isnt a sigh saying I have to have one to fish either but its in the book.

    There are just too many people using the backcountry sites now. The more people the more trash and bear problems and reasons governments can find a source of revenue. ie, If campsite #47 (insert any campsite) is getting too much pressure, trashed and bear problems its mainly because there are lots of folks using it, right? So, bureaucracys thinking: "Lets charge a fee and that way we generate more revenue (to spend as we want) and we will be able to cut back on the use of backcountry sites and kill 3 birds with one stone, less trash, bear problem gone and more money to spend."

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    North Georgia
    Posts
    286

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    It's the federal government. It's almost always a "done deal" by the time the public hears about it. Have you ever heard of something going the People's way? From parks to water treatment plants to stocking to regulations to...you name it. Maybe 5% of the time it doesn't pan out like the official "deciders" planned it. Meetings and hearings and all that jazz...it's just to let you blow off steam before they go ahead and do whatever it is they've already told you they're going to do. LOL

    As for the burden of fees being only on Back Country campers, I think someone's a little confused. Front Country users pay between $17 and $20 per night to camp in the Park's campgrounds. Asking people who have been camping in the Park for years for free to pay $4 a night or $10 a year and $5 a night doesn't seem so bad compared to that, does it?

    Those who are in an uproar over a fee to camp are the same people that would whine and moan if the Park Service ran out of money and closed all the camping - FC and BC - in the Park. So then, compare that $4 fee to a $60-100 a night hotel room if the loss of camping in the Park altogether should happen. Don't think that's possible? Keep dreaming. They almost shut it down last year on a technicality...

    I think $4 is reasonable, the petition makes false claims about Front Country campers, and sportsmen and women need to grow up and face the economic music. Not just in this, but in everything. You know, if you BC users really don't want to have to pay a fee, I'm sure the Park Service could save alot of money if they just cut out BC camping altogether. No need for more patrols, no need for paying a fee.

    In hard economic times you can find more revenue, or you can make cuts. But only in Fantasy World can you do neither, and still survive.
    www.owljones.com - OwlJones.com - The Internet's Only "Fishertainment" Website

  7. #17
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    Apr 2006
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    Knoxville
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    I see both sides of this.

    Owl makes some good points. Like I said in a previous post, nobody wants government involved until it begins to affect something they have an interest in. Then all of a sudden, people start asking for the government to do more. If we as society continue to ask more from our government then more of these freedoms and privileges that we have enjoyed will vanish. Government can only do so much with what they have. I agree that things in Washington are a complete mess, and needs an overhaul. However, that is not going to happen anytime soon. We have career politicians running things there, and they could care less about what the average citizen wants.

    I also agree that this is a bit unfair to the people who actually use the resource. The fishermen pay for a license, front-country campers pay for sites, and now backcountry campers are probably going to have to pay. Why do the hikers, horseback riders, tubers, and car traffic not have to pay. I still believe that an entry fee to the park would be much more beneficial and fair to all. I realize that currently they are not allowed to charge a fee, but as I said previously GSMNP is the only national park I have ever been to that doesn't charge a vehicle entrance fee. You can't tell me that charging a $10/vehicle fee will prevent people from entering the park (or a set annual fee for). Especially when they are staying in G-burg and paying >$100/night for a hotel room and driving over to Cherokee dropping who knows how much in the casino. That is a bunch of crap in my opinion. $10 is only going to prevent a tiny percentage of people from entering the park, and most likely those are the thru drivers who are just passing through congesting the traffic, and contributing to the pollution and litter.

    Finally, I know that there are some backpackers who are on very tight budgets. However, I can't tell you how many times I have been into the various camping/hiking stores around town and see many people dropping $250 for a sleeping bag or $400 for a tent. You can't tell me that somebody who is going to spend that much for gear can't afford to spend $4/night for a backcountry site. Maybe you just can't buy that new $300 Marmot sleeping bag this year in order to afford a couple backcountry trips. However, you will still have enough money left over to buy yourself a very nice Big Agnes, REI, or Kelty sleeping bag instead. Similarly if you are a backpacking flyfisherman, maybe you just don't have enough money to spare for that new Helios this year and instead will have to buy an Access, TFO, St. Croix, etc.

    It is all a matter of where and how people emphasize their priorities, and how much a person expects the government to give.

    Just my two cents.

  8. #18
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    Apr 2009
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    SE Tennessee
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    I think I mentioned that deeding for the park forbids an entrance fee.
    I had a friend who rode his horse on NC gamelands and got a ticket for not having a gamelands use permit. He beat it in court because there was no signs indicating that one was required. There isnt a sigh saying I have to have one to fish either but its in the book.
    In Tennessee, part of our Hunter Education material states that ignorance of the law is not an acceptable excuse. If you say, "I didn't know I couldn't do that," it doesn't hold water. Just because there are not signs indicating game laws and limits, it is the responsibility of the person to know what the law says. Chapter One- Responsibility is one part that I teach.

  9. #19
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    Jan 2006
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    Knoxville, TN
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChemEAngler View Post
    I see both sides of this.

    Owl makes some good points. Like I said in a previous post, nobody wants government involved until it begins to affect something they have an interest in. Then all of a sudden, people start asking for the government to do more. If we as society continue to ask more from our government then more of these freedoms and privileges that we have enjoyed will vanish. Government can only do so much with what they have. I agree that things in Washington are a complete mess, and needs an overhaul. However, that is not going to happen anytime soon. We have career politicians running things there, and they could care less about what the average citizen wants.

    I also agree that this is a bit unfair to the people who actually use the resource. The fishermen pay for a license, front-country campers pay for sites, and now backcountry campers are probably going to have to pay. Why do the hikers, horseback riders, tubers, and car traffic not have to pay. I still believe that an entry fee to the park would be much more beneficial and fair to all. I realize that currently they are not allowed to charge a fee, but as I said previously GSMNP is the only national park I have ever been to that doesn't charge a vehicle entrance fee. You can't tell me that charging a $10/vehicle fee will prevent people from entering the park (or a set annual fee for). Especially when they are staying in G-burg and paying >$100/night for a hotel room and driving over to Cherokee dropping who knows how much in the casino. That is a bunch of crap in my opinion. $10 is only going to prevent a tiny percentage of people from entering the park, and most likely those are the thru drivers who are just passing through congesting the traffic, and contributing to the pollution and litter.

    Finally, I know that there are some backpackers who are on very tight budgets. However, I can't tell you how many times I have been into the various camping/hiking stores around town and see many people dropping $250 for a sleeping bag or $400 for a tent. You can't tell me that somebody who is going to spend that much for gear can't afford to spend $4/night for a backcountry site. Maybe you just can't buy that new $300 Marmot sleeping bag this year in order to afford a couple backcountry trips. However, you will still have enough money left over to buy yourself a very nice Big Agnes, REI, or Kelty sleeping bag instead. Similarly if you are a backpacking flyfisherman, maybe you just don't have enough money to spare for that new Helios this year and instead will have to buy an Access, TFO, St. Croix, etc.

    It is all a matter of where and how people emphasize their priorities, and how much a person expects the government to give.

    Just my two cents.

    Agreed, a voice of reason.

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Mooresville,NC
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    91

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    Quote Originally Posted by Knothead View Post
    I think I mentioned that deeding for the park forbids an entrance fee.

    In Tennessee, part of our Hunter Education material states that ignorance of the law is not an acceptable excuse. If you say, "I didn't know I couldn't do that," it doesn't hold water. Just because there are not signs indicating game laws and limits, it is the responsibility of the person to know what the law says. Chapter One- Responsibility is one part that I teach.
    Exactly what I thought. How the **** he got out of it is beyound me.


    You know. If they say you cant camp anymore in the backcountry then why would they patrol it. That tells me I could set up a camp in just about any hollar without a fire. How they gonna catch me if they dont patrol.
    No campers in the bc only hikers. I could harvest some sang too.

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