Petition Closed
Petitioning U.S National Park Services and 6 others

Repeal the Great Smoky Mountains NP backcountry camping fee.

To stop this and further fees without providing any amenities.

Letter to
U.S National Park Services
Director of The National Park Service Jon Jarvis
Senator Rob Portman
and 4 others
U.S. Senate
Secretary of The Department Of The Interior Sally Jewell (Secretary of The Department Of The Interior)
Superintendent of Great Smoky Mountains NP Dale Ditmanson, (Superintendent of Great Smoky Mountains NP)
Acting Regional Director, Southest Region, National Park Service Gordon Wissinger (Acting Regional Director, Southest Region, National Park Service)
Repeal the Great Smoky Mountains NP backcountry camping fee.

This petition is to voice a vote of no confidence in the leadership abilities of Dale Ditmanson, Superintendent of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I represent a group of backpackers from Ohio and Kentucky who have backpacked in the Smokies for over thirty years. Mr. Ditmanson enacted a new backcountry camping fee on February 13th, 2013. The fee is four dollars per person per night up to a twenty dollar maximum per visit. There is no cap on the amount that could be paid in a year and no yearly passes are available for people who visit the park on a regular basis. There is also a limit of sixty nights per year which would affect the people living in the areas surrounding the park. The fee is for the sole purpose of maintaining a new online reservation system. We never had a problem with the old permit system that had been in use for eighty years. This is the first time a fee has been levied against a select group of individuals who receive no amenities. This fee should be repealed immediately. Public comment received by the National Park Service was 95 percent in opposition to the fee. Descendants of the original settlers of this area will now have to pay to stay in the backcountry when they visit old family home sites and cemeteries. It will be possible for a family to pay more to stay in the backcountry than to car camp in the frontcountry. We no longer have confidence that Superintendent Dale Ditmanson can effectively and efficiently manage the day to day operations of Great Smoky Mountain National Park in the best interest of the citizens who use this most beloved of national parks.