Home Register Today's Posts Members User CP Calendar FAQ

Go Back   Little River Outfitters Forum > Fly Fishing Board > Smoky Mountain Fishing

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 07-29-2011, 11:50 AM
JayB JayB is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 138
Default Proposal to CHARGE FEES for all Backcountry sites in GSMNP

Backcountry Office & Permit System Restructuring Proposal
July 27, 2011
Introduction
Park management is considering a proposal to improve visitor services by restructuring the
park’s backcountry reservations and permitting processes as well as assisted backcountry
trip planning services. The purpose of this document is to brief park partners, cooperators
and stakeholder representatives and to solicit feedback on this proposal.
Background and Scope of Problem
• The park consistently receives complaints about the amount of time and effort it takes for
visitors to get a backcountry reservation and/or acquire backcountry planning
information. This is a reflection of insufficient staffing for the volume of customers, both
call-in and walk-in, requiring reservations and/or trip planning information.
• The park also frequently receives feedback from the public that they desire to see more
rangers in the backcountry to address problems such as dogs on trails, and permit and
camping violations. This includes overcrowding of backcountry campsites by nonpermitted
campers. A greater National Park Service presence is also desired in the
Backcountry Information Office to provide trip planning services.
• Non-reserved sites currently comprise over half the park’s backcountry campsite
inventory. Because they are non-reserved, capacities are frequently exceeded, which
results in food storage violations, increased wildlife encounters and the need to close
campsites to protect visitors and wildlife. When the park needs to close one of these sites,
staff must rely on closure signs at permit stations and at the sites themselves to notify
campers, but this is not a reliable method of notification. A reliable system of
notification is vitally important when closures are due to bears or other safety reasons.
Proposed Solution and Outcomes
1. Contract with Recreation.gov, an online and call-in reservation service, to which
customers will have 24/7 access and can print their backcountry permit prior to arriving
in the park. Recreation.gov is the official centralized reservation service used by all U.S.
Department of Interior and U.S. Forest Service recreational areas offering camping
reservation services. These options will reduce the number of reservation calls to the
Backcountry Information Office and allow staff to spend more time assisting customers
with high-quality trip planning services, both walk-in and by phone. Although park
research suggests that 80% of reservations will likely be made online and almost 20% by
phone, there will also be an opportunity for customers to obtain reservations or permits
on a walk-in basis at the Backcountry Information Office and potentially at one or two
other select visitor contact stations in the park.
The reservation system will dramatically increase reservation/permit customer service and
ensure customers have greatly improved access to high-quality trip planning information,
both through personal contacts and improved on-line planning tools. Customers will be
able to make reservations and obtain permits at their convenience.
Page 2 of 2
2. Create a cost recovery fee structure for reservations that will generate revenue to cover
both the contractor cost of the reservation system and support an increased National Park
Service presence in the Backcountry Information Office and in the park’s backcountry.
Although Great Smoky Mountains National Park has been offering free backcountry
permits for years, the park is in the minority when compared to other parks with
comparable backcountry operations. Most other parks with similar backcountry
operations charge between $10 and $30 per reservation, and many have additional per
person or per person, per night fees. Parks use these fees in support of their backcountry
operations programs and, in turn, offer improved services to the public. Similarly,
beyond providing access to a more convenient reservation/permitting service, Great
Smoky Mountains National Park proposes using these fees to increase ranger presence in
the backcountry and improve customer access to trip planning services through the
Backcountry Information Office.
Alternative fee structures that would allow the park to meet these objectives include:
o $10 per reservation + $5 per person; or,
o $10 per reservation + $2.25 per person per night; or,
o $4 per person per night.
3. Require reservations for all backcountry sites. The reservation system will have the
capability of notifying reservations holders of site closures, safety issues, or emergency
information via phone calls, text messages or emails.
The park will be aware of, and have contact information for, users at each site. The park
will be able to reliably contact each reservation holder with timely information about
closures, safety issues and other important backcountry information.
By placing all sites on the reservation system and having an increased ranger presence in
the backcountry, negative impacts to both the natural environment and to the visitor
experience from overcrowding and other conflicts will be reduced.
Conclusion
Implementation of this proposal will result in an improvement to customer service that
will make obtaining backcountry reservations quick, easy and convenient for customers,
as well as increase their access to Backcountry Information Office personnel for trip
planning. Additional rangers in the park’s backcountry will improve visitor experience
by actively addressing commonly reported backcountry camper concerns.
Additional Information & Comments
• Written comments regarding this proposal may be addressed to the Park Superintendent
by August 26th. Comments may be submitted via email to grsmcomments@nps.gov or
by mail to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, 107 Park Headquarters Road,
Gatlinburg, Tennessee 37738.
• The park will also hold two informational open houses regarding this proposal to which
partners, cooperators, stakeholder representatives and the general public are invited.
o Tuesday, August 16: Old Oconoluftee Visitor Center 5:30 – 7:30 pm.
o Thursday, August 18: Headquarters Lobby 5:30 – 7:30 pm
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 07-29-2011, 12:03 PM
Mac's Avatar
Mac Mac is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Lexington, KY
Posts: 245
Default

Interesting,

be careful what you ask for,
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 07-29-2011, 12:11 PM
Rog 1's Avatar
Rog 1 Rog 1 is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Tallahassee, Florida
Posts: 872
Default

Sometimes I get frustrated by the lack of delineation of duties...when is a ranger not a ranger?....last month I was camping in Elkmont and while waiting to make a call at the pay phones I went down to look at the water from the bridge....just upstream there was some guy baiting fishing the pools there...walked over to the office and reported this and this started a conversation among the rangers as to whether they should go down and confront the guy or call in for an "enforcement" ranger....while they were discussing this the guy quit fishing and drove off....
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 07-29-2011, 12:53 PM
Streamhound Streamhound is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 287
Default

Hey Rog 1
I know that when my wife worked for the NPS she had no law enforcement duties and in the situation you described would not have been useful. On the other hand the law enforcement officers would have been lost guiding tours in Mammoth Cave. There are different divisions and each has only responsibility.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 07-29-2011, 01:54 PM
fearnofishbob fearnofishbob is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Rabbit Skin N.C.
Posts: 171
Default

I've been wondering when this would come about. I see no problem with it I have to pay each time I camp at Elkmont, Smokemont etc. Have at it !!
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 07-29-2011, 03:14 PM
Rog 1's Avatar
Rog 1 Rog 1 is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Tallahassee, Florida
Posts: 872
Default

I have no problem paying a fee ..... might even cut down on some of the litter...but...someone is going to have to make the rounds to check on the permits and enforce the rules
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 07-29-2011, 04:00 PM
ChemEAngler's Avatar
ChemEAngler ChemEAngler is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Knoxville
Posts: 1,131
Default

I actually wish they would go one step further and just charge an admission fee to the park. I realize it is in the park charter that they are not allowed to do so, but I see so many people who show no respect for this great resource that we have. And it isn't just the tourists who are guilty of this. I have seen many people with East TN tags on their vehicle throwing stuff out the windows while driving down the road.

GSMNP is the only national park I have been to that I wasn't required to pay an admission fee to enter. I would easily fork over $100/yr for a season pass, and think they should charge at least something for all the people driving through leaving their mess.
__________________
Travis

My Blog --> http://tnfishingfanatic.blogspot.com/

My Photo Site --> http://knxtravis80.zenfolio.com/

Email ChemEAngler
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 07-29-2011, 04:07 PM
fearnofishbob fearnofishbob is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Rabbit Skin N.C.
Posts: 171
Default

Admisson to the Park make even more sense.......The revenue hopefully would be put to good use !
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 07-29-2011, 04:32 PM
2weightfavorite 2weightfavorite is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: maryville
Posts: 365
Send a message via AIM to 2weightfavorite
Default

The only issue with charging fees to enter the park would be the traffic. Im guessing it would be like other national parks, with a booth and a gate that you would drive through. We have 4 or 5 million more visitors than the next closest national park. I would hate to have to sit in a giant line evey time I take clients into the mountains. As far as the back country sites, Im suprised they haven't went to charging fees for their use before now. Of course what happens with through hikers say on the AT? Do they have to call ahead and pay as well?
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 07-29-2011, 09:40 PM
flyman's Avatar
flyman flyman is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Hillbilly Hollow, NC
Posts: 874
Default

I'm not opposed to paying a nominal fee, but I don't want every site to go on the reservation system. I'll have to think about all the proposed changes before I comment in more detail.
__________________
"Have no fear of perfection - you'll never reach it."
Salvador Dali
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump



All times are GMT -4. The time now is 12:25 AM.



Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.