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  1. #41
    Registered User ATL Backpacker's Avatar
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    On top of all the deceit on the part of NPS enacting this fee, there is the question of how really is this benefiting the park? NPS has stated that no additional revenue will be generated b/c of this fee. The 2 rangers they speak of are already funded by Friends of the GSMNP. 100% of this revenue goes to the reservation system per NPS. The old reservation system was fine with the the vast majority of backpackers. Public comments were 20-1 against the fee.

    As some have already stated here this is simply a test run to pave way for a bevy of fees to come. Backpackers are the easiest target and smallest group, thus we are the first.

    If the revenue was used to maintain/improve trails and campsites you'd likely get more backpacker support for the fee. Instead NPS spends money repaving perfectly good roads and parking lots.

  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Montana Mac View Post

    IMOHO his post is NOT FOS!
    While on my hike in 09 I actually came across where some human pig defecated right in the middle of the trail in the Smokies.
    Yea, occasionally you'll have some slob doing stuff like this, if I recall '09 was the year some thru-hiker was taking dumps on the trail on a regular bases. However I believe this is rare bad behavior for a thru-hiker and that most of us follow the rules and practice reasonable respect for our trail. My guess is most of the trash is left by day hikers. I was surprised to see very little trash on the trail once you get away from road crossings.
    "Chainsaw" GA-ME 2011

  3. #43
    Registered User onecamper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tipi Walter View Post
    Desolation only charges a max of $10 for up to 14 days of camping and it does not tell you where to camp at all except for the first night. Totally unlike the Smokies as they want you to tell them exactly where you'll be on a night-by-night basis. Unworkable for, say, a 10 day trip.



    I've been saying this all along. Acquiescence to GSMNP fees will bleed into more fees on the AT with the eventual $5 a night charge to thruhike the AT and with every campsite reserved along its 2,000 mile length. Unworkable.



    This acceptance of the fee I call Acquiescence. And it's just not the $4 fee but the unworkable system of requiring all backpackers to reserve each site for each night. How will I know where I'll be on Day 8 or a 12 day trip? Unworkable.



    The solution is Dispersed Camping and the removal of all trail shelters in the Smokies. Dispersed camping means opening up the 500,000 acres to wherever-you-want camping as is done in the Dolly Sods wilderness, the Cohutta and Big Frog wilderness, the Mt Rogers Backcountry and so far pretty much anywhere you want to camp on the BMT or the AT or the Foothills trails or in the Cherokee or Pisgah or Jefferson or Nantahala national forests. The Park has around 100 designated backcountry sites for overnighters. Give each an allowance of 2 acres and thats 200 acres for backpackers to camp on. 200 acres out of 500,000?? It's absurd.



    I just wish the car drivers could pay a $20 entrance fee and then pay up and shut up. Why zero in on the backpackers? What about the vehicle access into the Park? Especially since the Park has the worst air pollution of any park in the US?? TN state legislature could institute this entrance fee if they'd just pull out the giant tick lodged between their ears.
    +1

    I could live with increased fines for litterbugs. $500 for the first offense would make people think twice and then you would be directly addressing the problem. This fee is about control, nothing else, don't kid yourselves..

  4. #44
    Registered User Wise Old Owl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rev_sunshine View Post
    My god WHAT is the problem? It's $4! The same people who complain about how run down the shelters are, turn around and complain when the shelters get fixed. I'm sure the $4 will help clean up and clear the many trails that have been hit hard. So many ppl say they love the Smokies, but not very many ppl are out there helping to clean them up.
    Quote Originally Posted by rev_sunshine View Post
    GSMNP is one of the only national parks in the country that doesn't charge an entrance fee. It's also the most visited park. Thru hikers create the most backcountry damage (outside of storms and natural damage). Thru hikers leave trash, crap wherever they please, wash dishes/clothes in the water systems, leave food out for the bears, start fires where they're not supposed to, camp wherever they please despite the damage it does, destroy shelters, etc. And, despite all of the "I love nature. We need to protect this precious natural resource" rhetoric, ppl are crying over 4$ and devising their plans to screw the park more. I spend A LOT of time in The Smokies...way more than the 8 or so nights most thru hikers do. If the park workers/volunteers weren't so busy picking up after sloppy thru hikers (some of whom are just downright piggish), maybe some other trails could get maintained too. But instead of fixing trails that have been closed for years, ungrateful thru hikers get new shelters for their 8 night visit...and they're STILL complaining.
    Are you actually a hiker? I am with Chin on this... charge an entrance fee. Not one dollar right now is going for clean up. You are out of your league. Noobs and people without a clue do the stuff you are taking about.
    Dogs are excellent judges of character, this fact goes a long way toward explaining why some people don't like being around them.

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  5. #45
    Registered User Wise Old Owl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jorhawle View Post
    Correct me if I'm wrong (and I probably am) but didn't volunteers upgrade the shelters? Isn't it true that NO federal money is used to maintain the trails? However, I bet federal money is used to maintain the roads that millions drive on per year in the park. i understand they can't charge an entry fee, and I will pay the $4 because I think it will be a benefit to do it online as opposed to on the phone (more convenient for most) but I think it's unfair to backpackers.

    You pay a couple of bucks to support 911 each month. There is clearly is a hidden tax to support the poor to have cell phones for about $3 per person." A program called Lifeline Assistance, originally intended to help low-income people install landline telephone service, has existed for decades. It was implemented by the Federal Communications Commission in 1984, and has changed several times over the years" However - roads within parks are such a low priority they are rarely fixed in national parks as they require a environmental impact study.


    Here is one of many stories, hopefully this will change your opinion.

    http://www.npca.org/news/media-cente...d-to-ruin.html
    Dogs are excellent judges of character, this fact goes a long way toward explaining why some people don't like being around them.

    Woo

  6. #46
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    I do not want to get involved in the fee debate. However, people seem to keep asking why GSMNP is charging fees to campers and not to the millions of other guests. The reason is they can't. How this informs you opinions is up to you.

    http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/whyfree.htm

  7. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by rev_sunshine View Post
    GSMNP is one of the only national parks in the country that doesn't charge an entrance fee. It's also the most visited park. Thru hikers create the most backcountry damage (outside of storms and natural damage). Thru hikers leave trash, crap wherever they please, wash dishes/clothes in the water systems, leave food out for the bears, start fires where they're not supposed to, camp wherever they please despite the damage it does, destroy shelters, etc. And, despite all of the "I love nature. We need to protect this precious natural resource" rhetoric, ppl are crying over 4$ and devising their plans to screw the park more. I spend A LOT of time in The Smokies...way more than the 8 or so nights most thru hikers do. If the park workers/volunteers weren't so busy picking up after sloppy thru hikers (some of whom are just downright piggish), maybe some other trails could get maintained too. But instead of fixing trails that have been closed for years, ungrateful thru hikers get new shelters for their 8 night visit...and they're STILL complaining.
    Your opinion and analysis though interesting are incorrect. If Thru-hikers were to blame for the problems you claim then the entire trail would experience such "trash, crap, food, etc.", yet this clearly is not the norm outside of the park. The $4 fee is bothersome because there is no reason for it. The land is already owned by the peoples of the United States and ATC monies are already appropriated for supporting the volunteer efforts required to maintain this and all trail sections. At issue for us is how this fee will: a) increase, and b) spread to other sections such as is the case with the AMC's private monopoly of the Whites (where hundreds can now be required over a week of travel).

  8. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by rev_sunshine View Post
    GSMNP is one of the only national parks in the country that doesn't charge an entrance fee. It's also the most visited park. Thru hikers create the most backcountry damage (outside of storms and natural damage). Thru hikers leave trash, crap wherever they please, wash dishes/clothes in the water systems, leave food out for the bears, start fires where they're not supposed to, camp wherever they please despite the damage it does, destroy shelters, etc. And, despite all of the "I love nature. We need to protect this precious natural resource" rhetoric, ppl are crying over 4$ and devising their plans to screw the park more. I spend A LOT of time in The Smokies...way more than the 8 or so nights most thru hikers do. If the park workers/volunteers weren't so busy picking up after sloppy thru hikers (some of whom are just downright piggish), maybe some other trails could get maintained too. But instead of fixing trails that have been closed for years, ungrateful thru hikers get new shelters for their 8 night visit...and they're STILL complaining.
    I saw the same issues on the lakeshore trail. Yep must have been the thru hikers.

  9. #49
    Registered User ChinMusic's Avatar
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    Hey moderators - Anyway we can change the title of this thread? I am sure I am not the only thru that keeps clicking on this thread for actual news on the new system. We have a rough outline of what is going down but do not know the logistics.
    Fear ridges that are depicted as flat lines on a profile map.

  10. #50
    Registered User Karma13's Avatar
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    I am sure I am not the only thru that keeps clicking on this thread for actual news on the new system.
    I keep clicking, too! Trying to learn the specifics of when, how, where to deliver my $20, whenever they get the info figured out.

  11. #51

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    Quote Originally Posted by Karma13 View Post
    I keep clicking, too! Trying to learn the specifics of when, how, where to deliver my $20, whenever they get the info figured out.
    I keep looking at the GSMNP's website for any updates as I'm planning to go at the end of the month. I'm betting the start date will not be announced. The system will just go into effect without warning.

  12. #52

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    I can't remember the start date, but if it hasn't started it is at least by some time next month. As mentioned, there is a $20 cap per person, but if you've got several kids it can get expensive in a hurry. Most of the park requires a back country pass. It can be obtained online and printed, and if you're paying the $20 max you can put your earliest possible date to start. For through hikers, defined as people starting at least 50 miles before and ending at least 50 miles after GSMNP, the exact scheduling for shelters isn't as critical as it seems. There are at least four spots reserved at each shelter for through hikers for that situation, then there is tent camping outside the shelters.

    I don't imagine there is any situation that is going to make everybody happy. To me it seems the fees kind of go against the spirit of the AT concept as a whole, but things cost money- not that I agree with the way it's being spent. I think most of the money will come from people with GSMNP as a destination, which seems a little more reasonable. A lot of people commute on 441, though, and toll roads are among my least favorite things. Isn't there enough gas tax already to pay for that?

  13. #53
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    Thanks for sharing! Good article and it's pretty sweet that it's only $4. Glad to see them using the internet for more efficient methods.
    If a tree falls in the woods, be there to hear it.

  14. #54
    Registered User Biggie Master's Avatar
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    I called for some other info last week, and out of curiosity asked about the new system. I was told at that point (1/17/13) that the system is in beta testing now...
    Biggie

  15. #55
    Registered User ChinMusic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Biggie Master View Post
    I called for some other info last week, and out of curiosity asked about the new system. I was told at that point (1/17/13) that the system is in beta testing now...
    I guess that is OK, I'll just consider my hike a beta thru.
    Fear ridges that are depicted as flat lines on a profile map.

  16. #56

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    Reservation and permitting process will take effect on Feb. 13, 2013.
    "Hiking is as close to God as you can get without going to Church." - BobbyJo Sargent aka milkman Sometimes it's nice to take a long walk in THE FOG.

  17. #57
    Registered User Songbird's Avatar
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    Too many people are uninformed on the facts about this fee. It will not improve anything. The only thing it does is fund 2 rangers to patrol and make sure you've paid your fee, and makes it harder on thruhikers. It wont be used to repair trails or shelters. This has been confirmed by the park superindendent himself. I suggest visiting the southern forest watch site http://www.southernforestwatch.org/ to learn the TRUTH behind this double taxation and will donate to bring this to court and with some luck stop it altogether. All I can say for myself is that if this fee is enacted, good luck finding me, ill do my camping just off the trail well away from the shelters and campsites.

  18. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by Songbird View Post
    Too many people are uninformed on the facts about this fee. It will not improve anything. The only thing it does is fund 2 rangers to patrol and make sure you've paid your fee, and makes it harder on thruhikers. It wont be used to repair trails or shelters. This has been confirmed by the park superindendent himself. I suggest visiting the southern forest watch site http://www.southernforestwatch.org/ to learn the TRUTH behind this double taxation and will donate to bring this to court and with some luck stop it altogether. All I can say for myself is that if this fee is enacted, good luck finding me, ill do my camping just off the trail well away from the shelters and campsites.
    Thank you. Maybe if they collect enough fines from fools, they won't raise any more fees on hikers following the rules.
    The trouble I have with campfires are the folks that carry a bottle in one hand and a Bible in the other.
    You never know which one is talking.

  19. #59
    Registered User Songbird's Avatar
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    Why follow unfair rules that are forced upon the public who are 18 to 1 against it? Playing their game only tells them you support it. Can't fine what you cant find.

  20. #60
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    As ATMilkman says: the fee will go into efffect on 2/13. I just called to make my reservations (the online system is not up yet) and was told that as long as you make your reservation by the 13th, you don't have to pay the 20 bucks; and there is a 38 day window after you make your reservation for you to transit the park. So, if you're leaving early in the season, you're in luck; if not, ya gotta pay to play...

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