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  #41  
Old 03-08-2012, 11:32 AM
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flyman flyman is offline
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Again I'm disappointed in the response by government officials in spite of the overwhelming opposition to this proposal. $4, it will probably cost more to implement and regulate the program than it will make. I'm not entirely sure that blame should be placed on the current park superintendent and administration. I think this mandate may have come from much higher up the line.
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  #42  
Old 03-08-2012, 12:15 PM
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When backpacking this weekend, I had my permit checked by a ranger at 8:30 AM on Saturday morning - the first time in 20 years backpacking the park.

I asked the ranger if this increased presence had anything to do with the proposed fee changes. The ranger really didn't answer. I then asked him about the park going through after the unanimous negative response, and the ranger commented on "a lot of spoiled people".
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  #43  
Old 03-08-2012, 01:59 PM
Jim Casada Jim Casada is offline
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NDuncan--You are not entirely correct on your statement about other national parks. While a number do have entrance fees (the GSMNP is forbidden to charge those by law), there is not another national park in the entire county where you MUST pay a camping fee for the backcountry. Some do have reservation systems which guarantee those who pay a spot, but if you apply in the last 24-48 hours and there are openings, you can camp free. Adam Beal (Crockett on this forum) has done some excellent research on this and maybe he will post his findings.

The idea that Western parks charge so the Smokies should too is a false flag. As for the national forests, I've heard differing opinions on that one and certainly I'm no legal beagle. Overall though, this fee thing, forced in the face of overwhelming opposition based on flat-out false information (call it dissembling, disingenuous, fabrications, falsehoods, or the simplest term, lies--it is conscious use by Park leaders of untruths). I'll give two examples, but there are many more, as those who have actively resisted this have discovered.I mentioned the misinformation about overcrowded backcountry in a previous post (the Park's own information proved it lied on that one). [Park Service personnel] also repeatedly alluded to a great number of complaints about the backcountry. Guess what? A Freedom of Information request proved that to be another falsehood. In the last three years there have been precisely 15 total complaints, and if you examine them individually less than half of those could in any way be construed as complaints about backcountry campers.
The bottom line is that [the Park Service] has arrogantly done what [it] wishes. I'll continue to support Steve and Matt and the fisheries program, but otherwise the Park has seen the last donated dollar from me, the last book purchased at Park stores, the last bid in a Friends auction, and the last effort of any kind to offer support. I don't and never have taken kindly to folks who consciously force things down the public's throats, and that is doubly true for situations involving falsehoods.
Jim Casada
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P. S. I've been connected with the Park in one way or another literally all my life and nothing in all my years has made me anywhere near as upset as this.

Last edited by Paula Begley; 03-12-2012 at 07:45 AM.. Reason: Removed individual Park Service staff names. P~
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  #44  
Old 03-08-2012, 04:21 PM
Crockett Crockett is offline
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This is copied from WBIR.com posted by long time Smokies blogger Al Smith:

This fee will make the Smokies one of the ONLY major national parks that charge a fee for backcountry camping. In the park's proposal for this online fee/reservation system, they had stated that "most other parks with similar backcountry operations charge between $10 and $30 per reservation." That is just a bald-faced misstatement. Here are the facts excerpted from our original comment to the park service regarding these changes:

Only two parks similar to ours charge any kind of a fee for advance reservations and both of those offer free reservations for walk-ins. All four parks similar to ours in the continental U.S. offer free permits for backcountry camping. Here are the four specific examples of parks we believe to have "similar" backcountry operations as the Smokies:
a. Glacier NP. 700+ miles of trails. Reservation fee: None. Permit fee: None
b. Yellowstone NP. 1100 miles of trails! Reservation fee: $20 for reservations 48 hours or more in advance. Walk-in reservations (within 48 hours of trip start) are FREE. Permit fee: None.
c. Yosemite NP. 750 miles of trails. Reservation fee: $5 plus $5/person for advance reservations. No charge for changes. Walk-in reservations: FREE (for trips beginning up to one day prior to the wilderness (backcountry) trip). Permit fee: None.
d. Shenandoah NP. 500+ miles of trails. Reservations not required. Permit fee: None
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  #45  
Old 03-08-2012, 04:56 PM
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NDuncan NDuncan is offline
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I think there is an inherit danger in copy and pasting info from other sources.

My comment was about the implications of a court case regarding a forest service run tract of land not applying to national parks (run by a different agency, with different authority, and laws, etc).

Adam, Jim, anyone else, my statement about fees was based on info from a friend of mine who works for a commercial guide service inside Glacier National Park. He told me that there is a permit, regardless of reservation.

So I looked it up myself. There is. Anyone $16 and over it is $5 per night, between 8-15 $2.50, and under 7, free. Getting a reservation will cost you $30 (processing fee, the reservation is technically free, but won't be processed without paying the $30). Now here is the hitch - these fees are only during certain months (June-Sept) the rest of the year, there is no cost.

anyone interested can look it up for themselves: http://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisi...ntry-Guide.pdf page 5.

I'm not going to look up every single park, but imagine others have permit fees too, and probably most do not.

My point is not that I support this in any way shape or form... I don't. In fact I'm not even happy that they can have a rule to only allow camping in specific designated areas. I'm actually quite pissed about the whole thing and signed every petition opposing it.

I was simply throwing in that the the park service already has legal precedent for doing this sort of thing elsewhere and as such a legal challenge based on something done in the national forest system will probably not hold up in court.

Again, not saying they should do this, just saying that they have elsewhere and so they probably will get away with it here.
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  #46  
Old 03-08-2012, 05:11 PM
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Grannyknot Grannyknot is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crockett View Post
This is copied from WBIR.com posted by long time Smokies blogger Al Smith:

This fee will make the Smokies one of the ONLY major national parks that charge a fee for backcountry camping. In the park's proposal for this online fee/reservation system, they had stated that "most other parks with similar backcountry operations charge between $10 and $30 per reservation." That is just a bald-faced misstatement. Here are the facts excerpted from our original comment to the park service regarding these changes:

Only two parks similar to ours charge any kind of a fee for advance reservations and both of those offer free reservations for walk-ins. All four parks similar to ours in the continental U.S. offer free permits for backcountry camping. Here are the four specific examples of parks we believe to have "similar" backcountry operations as the Smokies:
a. Glacier NP. 700+ miles of trails. Reservation fee: None. Permit fee: None
b. Yellowstone NP. 1100 miles of trails! Reservation fee: $20 for reservations 48 hours or more in advance. Walk-in reservations (within 48 hours of trip start) are FREE. Permit fee: None.
c. Yosemite NP. 750 miles of trails. Reservation fee: $5 plus $5/person for advance reservations. No charge for changes. Walk-in reservations: FREE (for trips beginning up to one day prior to the wilderness (backcountry) trip). Permit fee: None.
d. Shenandoah NP. 500+ miles of trails. Reservations not required. Permit fee: None
Crockett,
maybe I am just mis-reading this, but I can't see this as being entirely true. Possibly due to the loose interpretation of a "similar" backcountry operation. In 2006 I paid a park entrance fee & a backcountry permit fee at Zion NP. Also, Big South Fork has a backcountry permit system where a flat rate is charged. I will look when I get home if the Zion permit was a nightly charge, but I believe it was very similar to what the park has proposed. The Grand Canyon backcountry permit system uses the "$10 + $5 per person per day" pay structure. They also have a $25 annual frequent hiker pass that allows you to only pay the $5 per day fee on subsequent hikes for a year. I'm almost certain Glacier had a similar structure that the GC uses when my wife and I looked into a trip there (http://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisi...ntry-Guide.pdf see the bottom of page 1).

Note: I am adamantly against the park's intention of charging a fee for backcountry camping.

Cody

Edit....sorry to double post what NDuncan had already said.
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  #47  
Old 03-08-2012, 05:38 PM
Crockett Crockett is offline
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I gotcha Nathan and Grannyknot point taken. I think Big South Fork has a yearly pass for $50 or it maybe that's the maximum cap. Even something like that would have be nice in the Smokies for people who backpack a lot. Ideas like that were presented to the park but were left out of the final Smokies proposal.
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  #48  
Old 03-08-2012, 08:00 PM
Mundele Mundele is offline
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It's late to suggest this, but I wish they'd just charge $2 per car on the Cades Cove loop road. They'd make several times the amount they'll make charging $4 per night for backcountry campers, and maybe reduce "bear jams" too.

--Matt
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  #49  
Old 03-10-2012, 08:56 PM
Byron Begley Byron Begley is offline
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I wish we would not use the names of friends of mine in these posts. Why not refer to the Park Service instead of individuals? You can make the same point without mentioning specific people that I find offensive. Is that too much to ask?

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  #50  
Old 03-10-2012, 10:18 PM
calebB calebB is offline
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Man, why can't we be charged by our impact!! I'd be happy to pay $4 per night if they would only start charging horse camper's $40! Horse traffic is very destructive to trails compared to foot traffic.

Quote:
Most importantly, 100% of the revenue from this program will be invested in improving back-country services through extended hours of the back-country office, trip-planning assistance, on-line reservations, and protection of park resources through increased ranger staff. "
-I would rather wait on the line with the back country office, than pay $4.
-If a backcountry camper needs trip planning assistance, then they probably shouldn't be in the backcountry.
-NPS created their own need when it comes to implementing an online reservation system.
-I visit the backcountry to get away from everyone; increased nps ranger presence in the backcountry won't help.

PS- I wonder if they will charge an processing fee for online reservations?

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