Monday, September 24, 2012

Southern Forest Watch to sue Smokies over new backcountry camping fee

The Smoky Mountain Hiking Blog: Southern Forest Watch to sue Smokies over new backcountry camping fee : A group called the Southern Forest Watch has recently sent a letter notifying officials at the National Park Service that it intends to file a lawsuit challenging the $4 per-person, per-night, backcountry camping fee approved last March. The letter, sent by Knoxville attorney J. Myers Morton, was mailed to Dale Ditmanson, Great Smoky Mountains National Park superintendent; Ken Salazar, secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior; Jon Jarvis, director of the National Park Service; as well as Congressional Representatives and Senators from Tennessee and North Carolina.

A proposal for a new backcountry fee system was announced in July of 2011, and immediately created a firestorm of controversy and debate within the backpacking community.

The Southern Forest Watch group argues that the backcountry camping fee is illegal under several federal statutes, including the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act and the Administrative Procedures Act, and intends to file the lawsuit after the fee goes into effect in early 2013.

You can read the full document by clicking here.

What are your thoughts? Is this a relevant lawsuit, or a waste of taxpayer dollars?


1 comment:

  1. If challenging the Federal Government over arbitray taxes for use of public land based on deception and misrepresentations is a waste of taxpayer dollars, then i can't imagine what a good use of tax dollars would be.
    9 million cars drive through there, Lord knows how many circle Cades Cove, horses trample the trails, dayhikers make toilets out of trees and backpackers and backpackers only will have to pay to sleep on the bare ground. The minute they received approval for the fee, they started charging to see the fireflies within two months. What will be next? I will tell you. All the national forests. This is a test balloon. The Smokies got an extra 80 million in stimulus funds in the past two years. At what point does the spending get examined by this corrupt superintendent.
    Those who think "oh it's just a little money that's good for the park" failed to read the internal memos that clearly say, thanks to Freedom of Information Act Requests, that NONE of the money generated will go to ANYTHING other than a reservation system. Period. No trial maintenance, no rangers, no nothing. Just another lie. Educate yourself. It has been said that anyone who blindly hands over their money to the federal government is handing whisky and car keys to a teenager.