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Old 08-16-2011, 04:08 PM
Knothead Knothead is offline
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Default Proposed fees for the Park

Our local paper had a small article about charging fees for backcountry campsites. They are looking at generating revenue for more staff to patrol the park. I did a search with "great smoky mountain fees" and came up with a whole sackful of information. For those who have been monitoring this issue, I suggest you do the search. We'll see what happens.
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Old 08-16-2011, 09:08 PM
Crockett Crockett is offline
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I have been monitoring it closely and will be at the meeting on Thursday night at park hq. Any other folks from the forum going to be there?
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Old 08-16-2011, 09:22 PM
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JoeFred JoeFred is offline
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Adam, thank you for planning to attend. I'm anxious to hear more.
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Old 08-16-2011, 09:46 PM
Crockett Crockett is offline
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Yeah there is some big movement and outrage on this. Just this week more than 500 people signed a petition against it at the Little River Trading Company in Townsend. The petition made WBIR news tonight lots of folks talking about it. I think the park kinda thought backpackers wouldn't fight much they are a small and passive group after all who like to get away from it all you know. Heath Shuler and other reps are getting involved I have heard but the fight isn't over by a long shot. Hopefully at the very least folks who can't come to the meeting will let the park know what you think about issue by emailing comments to the park about the proposal to charge fees for backcountry camping at: grsmcomments@nps.gov
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Old 08-17-2011, 08:15 AM
MBB MBB is offline
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I could understand a general admittance fee to all who enter the Park. But, I do not believe that the back country backpackers should bear all of the burden alone for the need for revenue. It is fundamentally unfair.
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Old 08-17-2011, 02:24 PM
Knothead Knothead is offline
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The park cannot charge an admission fee as there is a clause in the deeding that prohibits the fee. This was a point in one of the sites that came up on my search. I'm sure that there are other ways to contribute. Do any of you out there put money in the boxes on the Cades Cove Road?
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Old 08-17-2011, 04:59 PM
MBB MBB is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Knothead View Post
The park cannot charge an admission fee as there is a clause in the deeding that prohibits the fee. This was a point in one of the sites that came up on my search. I'm sure that there are other ways to contribute. Do any of you out there put money in the boxes on the Cades Cove Road?
It is my understanding that the state legislatures of Tennessee and North Carolina could change the restriction and permit a fee, but both would need to agree.
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Old 08-17-2011, 08:27 PM
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benintenn benintenn is offline
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I know I'm prolly in the minority here but I would be ok with a small fee as long as they can guarantee the money would go toward backcountry enforcement. I've read the pure outrage on other boards about this and you have some strong opinions on both sides.

If I spend $300+ on fishing gear, $400+ on backpacking gear, and $50 on a Fontana shuttle, then I think I can handle $4/night. Personally, I'm tired of finding sites trashed and maybe, just maybe an extra ranger might be able to bust the violators.

I saw some pictures online of the bear cables on Hazel Creek loaded down with coolers and massive amounts of food brought in by carts. That has to be some sort of food storage violation. I can only imagine the amount of trash that was produced and some probably didn't make it back out.
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Old 08-17-2011, 09:13 PM
pineman19 pineman19 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benintenn View Post
I know I'm prolly in the minority here but I would be ok with a small fee as long as they can guarantee the money would go toward backcountry enforcement. I've read the pure outrage on other boards about this and you have some strong opinions on both sides.

If I spend $300+ on fishing gear, $400+ on backpacking gear, and $50 on a Fontana shuttle, then I think I can handle $4/night. Personally, I'm tired of finding sites trashed and maybe, just maybe an extra ranger might be able to bust the violators.

I saw some pictures online of the bear cables on Hazel Creek loaded down with coolers and massive amounts of food brought in by carts. That has to be some sort of food storage violation. I can only imagine the amount of trash that was produced and some probably didn't make it back out.
I agree as long as the money is well spent. The $10 option is too high IMO, but 4-5 bucks is reasonable, as long as they enforce the rules at the highly used areas, maybe it would even reduce their use a little which wouldn't be a bad thing at some sites. There is a cost associated with maintaining BC sites, maybe not nearly as high as FC sites, but a cost just the same.

Neal
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Old 08-17-2011, 09:42 PM
JayB JayB is offline
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If the rangers are spending all of their time monitoring Hazel, AT shelters, and the busy sites, let the hardly used sites stay free. I dont spend much on my gear, and when you take a group of kids everytime and you're paying everything it adds up quick. If they do the $4 per person per night, for 5 two night trips and 4 one night trips, im looking at $224, I could have bought my kids decent hiking boots for that! I havent been to any of these highly used sites, and when I do find a site with any trash in it, we clean it up ourselves. We talk about backpackers not bearing the burden of teh rest of teh park, why make people that dont camp at trashed problematic sites bear the burden for those that choose to. Im pretty happy with my relatively clean sites that are less than 3 miles from the road.
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