[at-l] Smoky back country fees

hiker 317 hiker317 at gmail.com
Fri Feb 17 16:20:53 CST 2012


I thought that the $5M that the Rockefeller family chipped in for the Park
had a stipulation attached regarding no entrance fees in the future, so,
does that mean that the Rockefeller Foundation would have to sign-off on
any entrance fee proposal, or would the chain of "...promises to keep, and
miles to go..." before we weep have a more convoluted path. I would imagine
that if there is a fee charged for backcountry travel, the Occupy GSMNP
folks will have much nicer tents/gear than the Occupy (wherever) folks...

On Wed, Feb 15, 2012 at 8:02 PM, Tenacious Tanasi <
tenacious_tanasi at yahoo.com> wrote:

> 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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