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  #11  
Old 02-01-2008, 09:39 AM
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Don't get me wrong, I am all for an entrance fee for the park as well as a tram for Cades Cove, however, I don't think there'll be an entrance fee since the government made a promise to the people that were kicked off their land when the park was formed that they wouldn't have to pay to enter. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think they also included their relatives.

As for the tram, I think they could put a parking lot in Townsend and have it not look too bad. It can't look any worse than the Port-A-Pot business that's located as soon as you enter from Maryville. Maybe plant some shubs along the road and keep it clean. A logistical problem that they would be faced with is the fact that when you have a large group of people congregated in an area, like in a parking lot, you have to supply restrooms. There is no sewer in Townsend. Which is a double edged sword in itself. On one side, with a sewer, you've got a cleaner watershed. On the other side, once they get a sewer, it will become a Pigeon Forge.

Just some things to think about.
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  #12  
Old 02-01-2008, 10:26 AM
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I don't know, I'm thinking that adding a big ticket season park pass is adding too much on the locals who already pay too much in my opinion for a license and trout stamp (granted you don't need a stamp for the park) I love the park, its my home waters, but I pay my dues and my support in other ways...and again, I love 'em, but this isn't the caliber of Yellowstone or Glacier as far as fish are concerned...granted Glacier has similar poor nutrient streams character in much of it as we do.
I think a couple of dollar per car "toll" into the cove is a good start...you figure 9+ million people visit this park, a portion of that go to the Cove, there is revenue there to collect,create,and bring in the law enforcement needed of the larger and stiffer fines which combined could lead to the creation of the inside 20 mph no stop loop...I'm all for historical preservation, but I think exposing more people to history(yes its a double edge sword, but then you would have revenue now to deal with that) could potentially bring more awareness if people have a better experience and then more apt to pledge support for it.

Or, forget the loop - just create us fisherman a direct HOV lane to the Abrams Trailhead

As far as man vs nature, well hopefully with generated revenue there would be better law enforement - but hey as far as I'm concerened, a bear's gotta eat...
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  #13  
Old 02-01-2008, 10:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buzzmcmanus View Post
the government made a promise to the people that were kicked off their land when the park was formed that they wouldn't have to pay to enter.
I think that a provision could be made to allow the relatives of past residents into the Cove for free. In fact, that should be a major part of any proposed entrance . But, I think a fee is necessary. In Acadia NP in Maine, they have a one-way loop road that is $20/wk and there are Park Rangers everywhere. I've seen more Park Rangers on one trip on their loop road, than I have in the Smokies on 12 years.

I know a lot of folks feel that they are already paying for the park in their taxes, and to some extent they are. But to preserve the park for our future generations we need to increase the funding now, and I think use/entrance fees would be a more equitable way of doing it. If you use it, you should pay more.

Buzz, I completely agree with you on the sewer situation. Keep the sewers out and keep Pandoras box closed...
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  #14  
Old 02-01-2008, 11:10 AM
BoostBlitzen BoostBlitzen is offline
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Hi everyone,

I'm for an entrance fee to the park. I know that since I'm not a TN or NC resident, my opinion may not hold any weight, but maybe if you were a resident you'd get a 50% discount on the fee? As for the descendants of people that used to live in the park, I don't think it would be that difficult to have an application process for them to get life time park entrance ID cards, that they could in fact hand down to their children.

Yes there were promises made, but its like the constitution. It had to evolve eventually, due to unforseen circumstances. I would *gladly* pay 25-35$ to visit for 7 days. I also wouldnt mind paying a small fee for the ability to drive my car around the Cades loop; $5 sounds fair enough. This way people might use the Bus, but not feel like they were forced to pay some crazy amount if they didnt want to.

You could also make the yearly fee for TN / NC residents like 35-45$ and at the same same time lower the yearly fishing license fee for said residents. Although I would keep all license fees for non-residents the same as the are now, maybe $5 cheaper since we'd be paying the park entrance fee.

I think that the fee is the only solution, otherwise everything will stay the way it is. Honestly I don't think those buses will help all that much, since most people drive to the cove, what incentive do they have to use the tram(s)? Now the few people that actually use the bus, will be stuck in them rather than their own vehicles during jams. Of course the trams are eco-friendly, but I know I'd rather be stuck in my own car, than on a bus.

There's no way they'll put up a garage, or widen the road to two lanes. Its just not possible (I think) without cutting down some tress, and I don't think they want to do that. Fees will not hurt the park in my opinion. They would only help improve the quality of the time everyone spends in the park, and at the same time protect & preserve it for generations to come.

Last edited by BoostBlitzen; 02-01-2008 at 11:20 AM.. Reason: grammatical
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  #15  
Old 02-01-2008, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by BoostBlitzen View Post
Honestly I don't think those buses will help all that much, since most people drive to the cove, what incentive do they have to use the tram(s)? Now the few people that actually use the bus, will be stuck in them rather than their own vehicles during jams. Of course the trams are eco-friendly, but I know I'd rather be stuck in my own car, than on a bus.
This is the reason why I don't feel Alternative 4 will work, I feel the tram needs to be an all or nothing deal, Alternative 5. If I was going to Cades Cove and was offered the chance to drive around it instead of taking a bus and possibly being stuck next to someones crying child, I will drive, even if I have to make a reservation. Then, as soon as a bear/deer/sqirrell runs out in front of me, I'm throwing the car in park where it is, and running out to take a picture of it (i'm actually not doing this, but others will).

As for the fee, I'm still for it, however I think there are too many people, who are descendants from Cades Cove, with political clout for it to happen, IMO.
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Old 02-02-2008, 11:52 AM
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Talking Tube Fee

I think we need a $400 tube permit. (An extra $100 if the tube is pink).
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  #17  
Old 02-02-2008, 12:55 PM
Byron Begley Byron Begley is offline
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Here is something we are working on right now. The Cades Cove road is in need of replacement. The repair requires that the surface be removed and repairs made to the base before the new asphalt is laid down. There is money in the budget to do this in 2009. I talked to Bob Miller about it when we took the Hybrid Bus ride. Even though the money is in the 09 budget it still doesn't mean it will happen.

(I'm wearing my Tourism and Travel hat right now.)

Shutting down the Cove during the summer to do this would cause a significant slowdown in the tourist business. Much of my volunteer work deals with tourism and planning for our area so I can't help but look out for the people who are friends and neighbors living here who make their living based partially on tourists being able to visit Cades Cove. Would it hurt our business? Probably not at all.

We are planning to meet with the Park Management and hopefully work out a plan where this work can be done at night or somehow keep the road open during construction. That would cost more money. Maybe we can help raise the difference.

Some of the Park's options include building a welcome center or station at the beginning of the loop road. 2009 would probably be a good year to do that. Also, during the road re-construction adding more pull-offs would be easier and less expensive to do. You have all of that equipment and personnel there so do it then.

I think every person who enters the cove should confront a ranger, take a printed sheet that says you can do this or you can't do that and maybe the traffic problem would ease.

Byron
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  #18  
Old 02-02-2008, 03:51 PM
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It is a complex problem and one to which I do not believe there is an easy answer or a single answer. There is a balance between public use and preserving the nature. In theory, the National Parks belong to each citizen of the United States as public land. That said, as citizens, we have a right to use and visit our land. However, it takes money to maintain facilities and enforce regulations that make it possible for all to enjoy "their" land.

Knowing how road improvement projects go, it will take a number of years to fix the road and while that is going on, the astetic pleasure of the cove will be destroyed. It will be mud, bulldozers, dump trucks, concrete mixers, graders, jack hammers, noise, dust and monumental traffic jams. The best approach would probably be to close the cove during construction. There's probably no way to do this with zero impact on wildlife and on the ecology of the cove.

The road to the cove will become more dangerous as well with large trucks hauling materials to and waste from the construction project. Face it, replacing the road is going to create a mess and there's no logical way to avoid it.

Charging a fee to enter the park is not going to reduce the number of people who visit unless that fee becomes punative. A fee that would discourage visitation is counter to the purpose of the public land school of thought. A fee may help fund some of the park facilities and law enforcement, but it cannot be made high enough to discourage park visitation.

So, it's a complex problem and one that, unfortunately, has to be made by politicians who depend on their living by being elected through popular vote. By very definition, they are not going to make decisions that are widely unpoplar.

I am not smart enough to know the answers. I'm just a fisherman and "computer guy" who goes to the office every day to try and feed his family and have enough left over to buy fishing stuff (and guitars). I donot envy the folks who must make the tough choices to fix this problem. My prayers are with them as they evaluate the options.

Jeff
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  #19  
Old 02-02-2008, 04:26 PM
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ChemEAngler ChemEAngler is offline
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Default Entrance Fee

I am completely in favor of an entrance fee to enter the park. The purpose of the fee is not to reduce the number of tourists but to have the necessary funds to manage the park properly. I would love to see more rangers hired to keep the littering and various other activities under control. Tell me something, is it some sort of tradition for people to leave their underwear hanging in the trees along the streamside. The last 3 trips I have made to the park I found multiple pairs of underwear up in the limbs a good 6 or 7 feet above ground. I still have lots of national parks to visit, having only visited 3. However, the 2 other than the Smokies have charged an entrance fee of greater than $10/vehicle. I am going to the Grand Canyon in March, and guess what they also charge a vehicle entrance fee of $25 per vehicle. I feel that charging a fee somewhere around $12/vehicle is completely reasonable to protect and maintain our beloved park.

The air quality is another issue altogether. Would the eco-friendly vehicles help, yes, but their impact will be minimal. The regions coal fired power plants are a major contributor, but they are meeting their emission limits set forth by the EPA.

Travis
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  #20  
Old 02-02-2008, 05:04 PM
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Brian Griffing Brian Griffing is offline
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Got it. This one's easy. There are two ways to solve this dilemna.
Solution #1: Post the rules on a large stone tablet at the entrance to the Cove, just like the Ten Commandments or the Code of Hammurabi. They would have such simple laws as "1. Don't feed, get close to, chase, yell at, or otherwise annoy the wildlife. 2. Don't stop in the middle of the road. 3. Anyone found in violation of the rules will be subject to mob justice. 4. All those who are 'corrected' by the mob, will have all money and valuables placed into the donation box."
Solution #2: Close, barricade and tear up every road leading into the park and erect a sign that reads "Beyond this sign is wilderness. Enter at your own risk."
Sorry if this sounds a little over the top, but I came up with it while sitting in my truck on the Loop road, watching the guy in front of me stop his Family Truckster in the middle of the road, 10 feet shy of a turn-off, get out, and take five minutes to photograph trees, all the while I'm sure the trout were rising on Abrams.
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