[at-l] Smoky back country fees
jim at smithbasement.com
Thu Feb 16 10:15:04 CST 2012
A backcountry fee is the same as a frontcountry camping fee. It's a use
fee, as it applies to specific facilities. A parking fee would be
equivalent to an entrance fee and I seriously doubt we'll see that in our
lifetime. Too many people remember the promises made to keep the park free
of entrance fees.
Having been in overcrowded shelters and seen campsites in need of
maintenance, I too welcome the effort to provide funds for better
maintenance and rangers to enforce regulations. Still, I'm concerned about
effects of a fee system, including but not limited to the impact on
Example: Last summer I was in a small group backpacking from Fontana
to Davenport Gap. We realized on our second day we were making better time
than we expected, so we decided we'd rather push on to Derrick Knob, rather
than stay at Spence Field where our reservation was for the night. We were
able to get a cellphone signal, called the backcountry office, and made the
change in our reservations.
Unless there are special provisions in the system, I don't see an automated
reservations system making that kind of last minute change possible.
On Thu, Feb 16, 2012 at 10:34 AM, Ken Bennett <bennett.ken at gmail.com> wrote:
> Yes, AFAIK the 9 million includes people driving over Newfound Gap and not
> I have no qualms at all about paying a fee to use a backcountry campsite
> or shelter as part of the reservation system. After all, front country
> campgrounds already charge fees. Since the backcountry system costs money
> to manage and maintain, a fee system to help cover those costs can be
> justified by the same arguments that justify charging for a camp site in
> Cades Cove.
> I'm not sure about the idea of charging just to get into the park. Given
> the park's history, that's not something I'd want to see.
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