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Rikki is one of the finest people I have ever known. When the corrupt superintendent of the Smokies proposed charging backpackers to use his park, Rikki rose in protest and wrote a column defending the rights of our ilk in defiance of the lying bureaucrats who were pushing the tax. Such is the nature of Rikki. He has never been afraid to stand up for what is right. I have shared many a campfire with this man and his legacy will live forever in the history of this town. The world could use a few more Rikki Hall's
I'm glad to finally see an accurate representation of the meeting and its attendees. Watching local tv news coverage of the event, especially WATE coverage, you would think that there was no opposition. I was particularly shocked by the fact they interviewed two road proponents and showcased two speeches by the same. That is irresponsible journalism. This road is a bad idea on every level. I hope our Governor steps up to the plate for his hometown.
I found it very interesting at the public meeting last night which was attended by at least a thousand people, that much of the media seemed to highlight those in favor of the road. I was at the meeting and can tell you that the oppoonents were decidedly in opposition. WATE was the guilty party here and I intend to look and see how much advertising money Pilot oil is spending with them.
Haslam takes office, puts more road contractors in charge of TDOT and voila, here you have more taxpayer money spent on a project taxpayers do not want. Bredeson changed the culture of tdot but with Haslam, its back to the 50s. Those new bike trails and greenways are going to be butchered by this. I'll bet some asphalt company will make a killing along with whomever owns the land that has been pushing for this pig of a proposal.
My intention with the illegal insinuation is that the NPS violated their own rule making policies and are violating the federal lands recreation enhancement act. They cheated in that they didn't follow proper protocols via the public participation guidelines outlined by the DOI. Some may call it "fudging". They will, in my opinion only, be stealing if they charge backpackers to the exclusion of all other high impact user groups, as Rikki mentioned. I don't think they have criminal intent, just manipulative playing with the numbers to shove this tax down our throats. They are unelected bureaucrats who are forcing us to pay to use federal land and have absolutely no oversight by the general public or congress. The abuses by the NPS are rampant and well documented. Look into the Case of the Indian Trader or Ranger Danno scandals. You will see a bureau that has taken a lot of good will and operates with impunity.The wealthy, such as equestrians and the blackberry farm crowd, don't backpack. They just tromp through this public land on the backs of us common taxpayers.
It seems to me as if the methods taken to this point have certainly achieved the goal of public awareness. The Smokies Managers did a great job of suppressing this fee implementation so I too, am curious, malabarista, what are you talking about.A couple that spends two nights in the backcountry will end up spending almost as much as someone who pulls into a car campground with sewer service, toilets etc. All the National Park service has to do is collect fees from the taxpayers.This land was given to the NPS and a bunch of bureaucrats who have no roots here, in collusion with guide services that also stand to profit from this ponzi scheme are burdening the future generations of park users. That 4 dollar fee will be 40$ in short time. It is a foot in the door for fees. They already started charging to see fireflies after they got the go ahead for this backcountry tax.
Kudos to the first print journalist in Knoxville to cover this story. It's amazing that national media has picked this up and Rikki is the only print guy with the nuts to cover it. We've got some bad seeds in the Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent's office. They've lied cheated and stolen to push this money grubbing tax. We gave the federal government this land and now they are lying to charge us for use of it. Lamar's fingerprints are all over this thing and now his blackberry enterprise will have to curtail their clandestine activities on this half million acres they consider their own private playground. Kicking backpackers out of the park would suit blackberry. Great work Metro Pulse. Maybe the news sentinel will come around.