Changes may be on the way for campers in The Great Smoky Mountains and they might come with a fee.
Right now, hiking in The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is free, but in order to better serve outdoor enthusiasts, the park is toying with the idea of a charge, WBIR-TV, Knoxville, Tenn., reported.
Thousands of people a year go deep in to the woods and hike. They are backcountry campers. They can reserve campsites and rough it for days.
However, the park is now having internal discussions about charging a user fee and a campsite reservation fee. They said it’s to increase services.
Some park visitors have mixed reviews.
“I don’t think they ever should. things are high enough the way they are. I understand they need to maintain the camp, but I don’t believe that’s the way it’s going to be. Maybe they could draw revenue from the city or something like that, but this should be free,” explained Kentucky resident John Dunsil.
Illinois resident Richard Neil, said, “Good, because if they’re going to pay it brings in money.”
Park Spokesman Bob Miller said as of right now there is no set price. He says if it happens, it would be in line with what other parks are charging.
10News checked around. The Grand Canyon charges $10 for a permit and $5 per hiker, per day.
Yellowstone National Park charges $20 for a campsite reservation.
Glacier National Park charges $30 for a permit.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park plans to take public input online and at public meetings.