Tag Archives: camping

Could You Call It a Camping Tax?

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) — The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is changing its backcountry reservation and permitting process.
Beginning early next year, the park will collect a $4 per person per night fee for backcountry camping.
The money collected from the fees will be used to improve customer service for backcountry trip planning, reservations and permits.
Backcountry Office hours will be expanded with additional staff available. In addition, there will be greater enforcement of issues like food storage from park rangers assigned to the backcountry.
The park will also begin allowing backcountry campers to make reservations and obtain permits online. The new website should be available within the first few months of 2013.

Court Challenge to $4 Smokies Camping Fee

A citizens’ organization seeking to overturn the new backcountry camping fee in Great Smoky Mountains National Park wants to take its case to court, reports The News Sentinel.
Southern Forest Watch has sent a letter notifying officials with the National Park Service that it intends to file a lawsuit challenging the $4-per-person-per-night backcountry camping fee approved in March. The letter, sent by Knoxville attorney J. Myers Morton, was mailed to Smokies’ superintendent Dale Ditmanson; Ken Salazar, secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior; and Jonathan B. Jarvis, director of the National Park Service.
In the letter, the group argues that the backcountry camping fee is illegal under various federal statutes, including the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act and the Administrative Procedures Act. The group also alleges that the park service’s did not adequately weigh public opposition to the fee as expressed in written comments and at public meetings.
Morton, who represents Southern Forest Watch, said the lawsuit won’t be filed until early 2013 after the fee goes into effect.

Rep. Watson on Watching Occupiers, Moving to Evict Them

By Travis Lollar, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Lawmakers concerned about the Occupy Nashville encampment next to the state Capitol are promoting a bill that would criminalize camping on public property across the state.
House Judiciary Chairman Eric Watson, who has a clear view of the 60-or-so tents from his office window, is sponsoring the legislation. He mentioned several reasons for wanting the encampment gone, including a couple last year having sex near his windows.
“A fight broke out yesterday,” he said in a Wednesday interview, “and there was a guy streaking today, running out here naked.”
But he said the main reason for the bill was to ensure equal access to the plaza for other groups, including schools that put on musical programs there.
“They’ve been reluctant to come up here. We’ve even had weddings put off,” Watson said.

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