[at-l] Smoky back country fees

Trailwife at aol.com Trailwife at aol.com
Thu Feb 16 07:30:44 CST 2012


I agree that the park is being "loved to death" but  have a question about 
the 9 million visitors. Does this include the highway  users that are only 
traveling from one point to another? If so would the highway  become a toll 
road?
 
 
In a message dated 2/15/2012 9:02:29 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,  
tenacious_tanasi at yahoo.com writes:

 
 
I posted this on fb ....


I'm  really torn over this... 

The  Smokies were supposed to be promised forever free to the public within 
the  agreement that there would never be a license fee or toll in exchange 
for the  lands given from the state of Tennessee to the National Park 
Service. I really do admire the heart and  spirit in which that agreement came 
about and wish that all of the park system  had come about with such 
agreements. HOWEVER, With over 9 million visitors  annually, the GSMNP is the most 
visited national park in America. Those same 9  million plus visitors per year 
are also slowly killing the Great Smoky  Mountains. We're loving our 
mountains, their flora, fauna, and animals  literally to death.

In a study conducted by Dr. Daniel Stynes of the  Department of Community, 
Agriculture, Recreation and Resource Studies at  Michigan State University, 
it was found that in 2010 the GSMNP visitors spent  $818B+ within the 
gateway communities. 11,367 estimated local jobs were also  supported by park 
visitors. If you're curious for more information the study  is entitled 
"Economic Benefits to Local Communities from National Park  Visitation and Payroll, 
2010".

Now, if that many people will spend that  much in the local communities, 
then what in the world would be wrong with  asking them to pay $1 per day per 
person for using the park? To be honest that  $1 per day will not recover 
the footprint left by that very person in the  singular day of damage they 
affect. But, with the new federal fee legislature  80% of fees collected remain 
within the respective collecting park. Therefore,  we know without a doubt 
that the majority of funds would stay right here in  the park. A tremendous 
amount of work could be accomplished for continuous  improvements within the 
GSMNP with those kinds of funds. 

AND,  WHILE I DO NOT AGREE... I DO NOT AGREE WITH GOING ABOUT IT THROUGH 
BACK  COUNTRY CAMPING FEES SINGULARLY, I DO THINK THERE HAS TO BE SOME KIND OF 
FEE  TO OFFSET THE TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF WEAR THAT THE MILLIONS OF VISITORS 
PER YEAR  DO WITHIN THE PARK. 

And, honestly, I think that those that had  the heart and spirit to insist 
upon the agreement to ensure free use to the  public forever would be able 
to see the damage that we're doing here and the  need to fix it.

The attached article brings up some very salient  points. 

1. There needs to be some back country trash clean up.  Every time we go 
out we bring back at least a bag of garbage. And, it's sad to  come walking up 
on a family and watch the kids throwing down trash and the  adults don't 
make them pack it out or even acknowledge the  trash! 

2. We need more Leave No Trace educational programs...  especially for kids 
that visit the parks.

3. There needs to be ridge  runners out there being mindful of the tourons 
who have no sense to start  hikes out earlier in the day, wear appropriate 
clothing, bring their beloved  pet to be a bear snack, or that simply get 
lost. 

4. Trails need  to be maintained as do shelters, privies, visitor centers,  
etc. 

5. Durable surfaces in the more frequented areas need to be  put into place 
for bike riding, walking, etc. 

6. Air pollution is  a serious issue... especially in the Cove. What about 
banning all cars from  Cades Cove and or other parts of the park and 
implementing a trolley system  run off propane trolleys? You pay a quarter per 
person to get on each time.  Or, you pay $5 per day use to go all over the park 
via the trolley system. At  Acadia National Park, they had these kewl 
trolleys you could even load your  bike up on the front or rear of it. Not only 
would this help tremendously on  the air pollution issue, it would provide 
more jobs within the park system AND  it would cut down on traffic!

I have seen how some fees can  tremendously help the park system... we just 
need to make sure that it is  spread evenly to all users and not just 
picking on a certain section. It has  to be fair, simple, and capped.

In 2010 it was estimated that there  were 9 million park visitors... at $1 
each for day use that would have been  $7.2 million dollars to put toward 
helping to ensure that much needed  improvements could be made and maintained 
to keep the park around for our  children's, children's, children's, 
children's... you get the picture... so  that they, too get to walk up to 
Clingman's Dome or sit atop Chimney Tops or  enjoy lunch at the base of Ramsey's 
Cascades or on a blanket in the Cove...  watching deer munch on grass nearby. 

 
Tenacious  Tanasi



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