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Proposed camping fee for the Smokies in the hands of the Park

Officials at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park spent the month of August collecting public input on a proposed user fee to stay overnight in the Park's backcountry shelters.

Park officials at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park have officially closed the public comment period regarding a proposed fee and changes in the process by which backpackers make reservations for overnight camping at the Park’s nearly 100 backcountry sites and shelters. Park officials intended to spend the rest of the year evaluating public comments before reaching a decision by January.


Rob Young, director of Western Carolina University’s Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines, (PSDS) was among the special guests invited took part in a September ceremony in the Pacific Northwest that marked the official beginning of the nation’s largest dam removal project.

The event, which featured a mix of scientists, celebrities, and politicians, also marked the start of the final phase of a multiyear effort by Young and other scientists from PSDS who have conducted a wide variety of research on the coastal impact of two large hydroelectric dams on the Elwha River in the state of Washington.


Matthew Bateman representing Stay And Play In The Smokies, (R) recently presented Bill Van Horn, volunteer representative with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, a check in the amount of $327.

The donation was generated via social media platform, Facebook, and was designed to highlight and raise awareness of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail (A.T.), as well as Franklin’s new designation as an official A.T. Gateway Community — one of only 14 cities designated as A.T. Communities.


On Sept. 24, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), along with its 31 Trail Clubs will be launching Family Hiking Day. Family Hiking Day is an opportunity to introduce families to the Appalachian Trail (A.T.), and the benefits that come from being active and spending time outdoors.

Family Hiking Day, a program developed by the ATC, is an initiative to get people of all ages and experience levels outside and active. Hiking on the A.T. is a good source of physical exercise that provides a space for exploration of local natural resources and the opportunity to create lasting memories that will encourage long-term appreciation of protected public lands.


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