Backcountry Camping Fee Increase for 2013

For anyone planning a camping trip to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 2013, just so you know the backcountry camping fee will increase to $4 person starting in most likely January.

It marks a change in the national park’s backcountry reservation and permitting process.

It’s all for a very worthy and good cause that will benefit all those coming to the national park wanting to stay overnight and observe its majestic beauty up close. All money deriving from the new backcountry fees will go toward improving customer service for backcountry trip planning, making backcountry reservations and applying for permits.

Additional staff will also give the national park the ability to expand backcountry office hours in order to better accommodate all the park’s guests. There will also be greater enforcement of issues such as food storage by park rangers assigned to various portions of the backcountry. These rangers are on patrol each day and look after the well-being of the park and keeping its natural state from harm.

In a move to become more technologically in tune, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will give backcountry campers the ability to make reservations and obtain permits online through a new web site in cooperation with nps.gov. The site is slated to be available within the first few months of 2013.

Backcountry campers may stay at a campsite for a maximum of three consecutive nights. You may not stay more than one night at any individual shelter. The use of tents at shelters is prohibited. The maximum group size is 8 persons, except at the following campsites where parties of 12 are permitted: 17, 20, 46, 60, 86, and 90. Please note that some campsites have a group size limit of fewer than 8 persons.

The park does not allow pets on backcountry trails. Backpackers and hikers are subject to all Backcountry Rules and Regulations. Failure to abide by park regulations may subject you to a fine under Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations. Maximum fine for each violation is $5,000 and/or 6 months in jail.

Please call the reservations office to cancel any nights or spaces that become available because of changes in your plans.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park sees near 10 million visitors come through its entrances in Tennessee and North Carolina every year. It’s home to such popular natural spots as Cades Cove, Cataloochee, and Mount LeConte.

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