Smokies to Charge for Camping

Begins on February 13

Ryan O'Hanlon

Starting on February 13, it will cost $4 per person to camp in backcountry sites at Great Smoky Mountains National Park, officials announced. The move, which was approved last year by the National Park Service, will also include the implementation of an online reservation system.

So, why the switch?

Fees from the new reservation system will allow additional staff and expanded hours for the Backcountry Office to provide trip planning assistance in person and by phone. The fees will also expand the Backcountry Ranger presence to better protect visitors and the resources through enforcement of food storage and other regulations, and improved visitor education regarding Leave-No-Trace principles.

Reservations can be made here next month.