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  1. #1

    Default New Smokies Permit Fee

    The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) has received information about the new permit and fee system from the Great Smoky Mountain National Park (GRSM) that they are putting in place next month. The Conservancy is opposed to the fees and formally expressed our position during the public comment period. However, the park has decided to move ahead with the new system. The Conservancy would like the hiking community to have the information they will need concerning the new fees and permit system before they reach the park. Therefore, we are distributing the information in multiple locations on-line and along the Trail.

    The ATC advises northbound thru-hikers to acquire their permits just before embarking on their trip to avoid the difficulty of finding internet access and a printer once they have started their hike.

    Details are below; a PDF of the poster that will be in various locations is attached, along with a Word version of the text below.

    Great Smoky Mountains NP Permit Fee Update
    re: A.T. Thru-Hikers
    22 January 2013


    - Beginning 13 February 2013, people staying overnight in the Great Smoky Mountains NP (GRSM) backcountry will be subject to a $4/person/night permit fee.
    - A.T. thru-hikers will be charged $20, with the permit good for 38 days. A GRSM backcountry permit can be obtained up to 30 days in advance. Thru-hikers will have 8 days to pass through the GRSM. Thru-hiker permits will be available year-round.
    - The current GRSM definition of an A.T. thru-hiker will remain “a backpacker starting & ending their hike at least 50 miles outside GRSM”.
    - Thru-hikers will be able to obtain permits on-line, by fax (once payment is made by phone) and in person at the GRSM Backcountry Office (BO) at the Sugarlands Visitor Center near Gatlinburg, TN. Credit cards will be accepted on-line, by phone and in person at the BO. Checks, money orders and cash will be accepted in person at the BO.
    - There will be no refunds.
    - Each thru-hiker will have to carry their own paper permit.
    - ˝ of the permit must be left in the trailhead permit receptacle at either Fontana Dam or Davenport Gap. Thru hikers will need to write their date of entry into the GRSM on both halves of their permit.
    - Four bunks will be reserved in each GRSM A.T. shelter for thru-hikers March through May. Thru-hikers must always give up space in shelters to non-thru-hikers holding reservations.
    - Ranger presence will be increased on the A.T. during thru-hiker season.
    - For more information, please call 865-436-1297.


    Note: The website for acquiring permits www.smokiespermits.nps.gov is not yet live, but should be operational
    by February 13.

    Laurie Potteiger
    Appalachian Trail Conservancy

  2. #2
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    Thanks for the update.

  3. #3
    Getting out as much as I can..which is never enough. :) Mags's Avatar
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    Online RSVPS in a national park. Awesome. I hope this system makes it to other national parks!
    Paul "Mags" Magnanti
    http://pmags.com
    Twitter: @pmagsco
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    The true harvest of my life is intangible...a little stardust caught,a portion of the rainbow I have clutched -Thoreau

  4. #4
    Registered User etokash's Avatar
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    Will senior citizen thru hikers who have a national park permit still have to pay the fee?

  5. #5

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    I think I will have to call on this , but, my daughter has a national park access pass - she has a permanent disability, I am never sure how to use it when we get backcountry permits.

  6. #6
    Registered User moytoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by etokash View Post
    Will senior citizen thru hikers who have a national park permit still have to pay the fee?
    Sgt. Rock says not and he is probably as connected as anyone. My guess is that discounts and free passes hasn't been completely thought through yet.
    KK4VKZ -SOTA-SUMMITS ON THE AIR-
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  7. #7
    Registered User wcgornto's Avatar
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    Seems to be a thru hiker penalty. I spent three nights in GSMNP on my SOBO thru hike ... $4 x 3 = $12. $20 is more than $12.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by wcgornto View Post
    Seems to be a thru hiker penalty. I spent three nights in GSMNP on my SOBO thru hike ... $4 x 3 = $12. $20 is more than $12.
    B S. $20 is a mere pittance

  9. #9
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    FYI... just called the Fontana Village Lodge. They said that they have a computer with printer at the Front Desk they are willing to allow Thru-Hikers to use for printing off this Permit. Hope that lasts! Be nice to the folks there so that anyone that needs to utilize this resource is able to. Free wifi in the fireplace lobby as well.

  10. #10

    Default

    If a thru-hiker knows he or she can hike the park in fewer than 5 days and wants to pay less than the thru-hiker $20 permit fee, you can always make reservations for individual sites like everyone else. Realistically, it's probably not worth the effort, though. But, if you're really tight on funds, at least there's another option.

  11. #11
    Registered User Tuckahoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wcgornto View Post
    Seems to be a thru hiker penalty. I spent three nights in GSMNP on my SOBO thru hike ... $4 x 3 = $12. $20 is more than $12.
    Seems to me that if you feel you can make it in three nights, all you need to do is make your reservation for three nights. Otherwise, thru-hikers are getting a discount of 7 nights for the price of 5.
    igne et ferrum est potentas
    "In the beginning, all America was Virginia." -​William Byrd

  12. #12
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    much ado over nothing

  13. #13
    Registered User wcgornto's Avatar
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    My comments were tongue in cheek. Whether $4 per night or $20 for thru hike, I am indifferent between the two.

  14. #14

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    I'm more than happy to pay 4 bucks a night- pay online, no unanswered phone calls? Worth every penny!!

  15. #15

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    I like the suggestion of getting the permit ahead of time in case of the difficulty getting access to a printer.
    "Hiking is as close to God as you can get without going to Church." - BobbyJo Sargent aka milkman Sometimes it's nice to take a long walk in THE FOG.

  16. #16

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    Hopefully future editions of the guidebooks will make note of the places where there is computer access with printers both south AND north (for SOBOs) of the park.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by wcgornto View Post
    My comments were tongue in cheek. Whether $4 per night or $20 for thru hike, I am indifferent between the two.
    There's a smiley face for that. No smiley face = no tongue in cheek.

    Rain Man

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    [I]ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are: ... Defile not therefore the land which ye shall inhabit....[/I]. Numbers 35

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  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Wolf View Post
    much ado over nothing
    Gotta agree. A great deal of panties in wads over a pittance of cost and trouble, compared to any section or thru-hike.

    Some people just gotta find offense with "government." It's become a sad national sport for some.

    Rain Man

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    [I]ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are: ... Defile not therefore the land which ye shall inhabit....[/I]. Numbers 35

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  19. #19

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    So for NoBo thru hikers, get the permit before starting the trip? How long does it usually take to hike from springer to gsmnp ?? Or Wait till little closer?

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    NOC would put you 2-3 day out for most thrus. I wonder if they would be willing to help out. At a little over 160 miles kinda tuff to figure it out before you hit the trail unless you really know your hiking speed & are a really great weather guesser.

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