Knox County Commissioners voted yesterday to express support for a recent Blount County Commission resolution that opposes the backcountry camping fee in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Knox resolution also demands for the immediate repeal of the backcountry camping fee, and opposes the imposition of any fee for the use of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park that is not directly associated with the use of amenities or a commercial purpose.
Citizens groups, such as the Southern Forest Watch, oppose the fee on grounds that "backcountry camping is differentiated from front country camping in that no amenities are provided to campers other than the metal cables that are constructed to raise campers' gear and food above the level at which bears can access said gear and food".
Earlier this month the Southern Forest Watch filed a lawsuit against the fee.
The resolution passed by the Knox County Commissioners also asks that all of the counties in the State of Tennessee to join in passing the resolution, and to forward to their state delegations to ask their delegates to investigate the matter and to join in formally opposing the same fees.
So far this strategy, originally initiated by the Blount County Commission, seems to be gaining momentum. Since the February 21st vote by Blount County, similar resolutions have been passed by Knox County, Monroe County and Bradley County in Tennessee, as well as Swain County in North Carolina.
Hiking Trails in the Smokies