I am from IN and have been fishing the park for around 16 years now. Usually my wife and I visit, she is also a flyfisher person, 3-4 times per year. As Paula and others stated, trash comes in many sizes and it is not always the visitors that have created the problems. Trash could also be lack of respect to others as well as the environment. I used to go to Berrien Springs in MI to fish the St Joe river, a great steelhead as well as brown trout stream. After my last visit about 9 years ago, I could not stand the trash in around the stream area, fish that had been clean, food wrappers, cans and many items I would not mention on line. For the most part, the cars all had MI license plates and If I was a MI resident I would be very upset my area looked like this. This does not mean the MI people have no respect for their enviroment, it means trash comes in all sizes.
I was in Townsend during the week of Labor Day and I dont have to mention the garbage I saw on the Little River, Middle Prong and other areas visited. Some of the garbage I saw on the trail close to Abrams Falls was discusting. unable to get to some of it. One of my main concerns was the number of people that would enter the water to swim, dive and play while people were fishing. I feel this has become a major problem in the Smokies over the past several years, DISREPECT. While fishing on Middle Prong on Sat Sept 1, there were numerous visitors that had the disrepect to jump in the water around various areas that did not help the fishing or the enviroment of the streams in the park. I have not seen any mention of what this type of activity will do to the watershed in years to come. I did notice that for the most part, they had TN plates on their cars. I do not hold this against the state of TN, I do not feel this represents the state of TN, it just represents the fact that people only care about themselves and not others.
I am not offended by the fact of being a visitor in the original email, however I feel one should have all of the facts reviewed properly prior to making a statement. I will be back in the Smokies later in Oct for a long weekend of fishing in the park and I do not expect anything different, I just hope to find a little more solitude.
Here come the leaf people.