April Happenings:

It has been a busy month and I want to update you on events.  The biggest news is that the SFW lawsuit has been deemed worthy enough to proceed by a federal judge, which is a big win for us at this point.   It means that our suit has legs.  Unfortunately the judge dismissed the portion that involves the online reservation system but says we can still challenge them on the fee and the political patronage portions.  You can see some details here in this article.


Many hours of hard work on behalf of our attorney, Myers Morton have resulted in this favorable decision.  As a result, we decided to press on and host a booth at the Rossini Festival which is why there was no backpacking this past weekend.  (although Jerky Mike did a solo trip to Springhouse Branch and Will climbed Cold Mountain)

SFW members enjoy a beautiful day on Gay Street with 100,000 of our closest friends. 

We spread the message of fee freedom to the masses.  Speaking of jackbooted thugs created by this fee, look at this article sent over by Frank.  Does this make you feel good about how your fee money is being spent?   http://www.appalachiantrials.com/strolling-thru-smokies/


So there is plenty going on with the Southern Forest Watch.  Our group continues to fight daily to reign in the overreaching federal government.  Speaking of government, I wish to take a minute during this election cycle to share our experience with OUR elected officials and their lack of action on this fee.  As you know Lamar Alexander supports the fee and has tried everything in his power to torpedo us and our efforts to have it stopped.  He even went so far as to approach Blount County commissioners last year and ask them to vote against our resolution.  (We kicked his sorry ass back to Washington and our resolution passed).  Similarly, Jimmy Do Nothing Duncan met with us and proceeded to do nothing but pass our letter to the Superintendent.  As member of the Natural Resources Committee he was in a great position to stop this tax but decided, like Bob Corker's aide told us, that he takes his lead on Smokies issues from Lamar.

I hope folks reading this will decide to vote for folks who think for themselves.  Not someone who "takes his lead on Smokies issues from Lamar."   That is what is wrong in America today.    The "good" guys on our side are Rep. Harry Brooks who sponsored our state resolution and Tab Burkhalter and Tonya Burchfield who supported the Blount Resolution that paved the way for many others.  Let your elected officials know how you feel about their tacit support of taxes on backcountry campers.

More good news has come in for me in the form of  a positive review of my book and I am very pleased to receive some attention from the climbing community in Seattle.  Here is a link to that story.   http://seattlebackpackersmagazine.com/tempting-the-throne-room-book-review/

I won't be backpacking this weekend but may do some dayhiking.  The weather here has been perfect with crisp evenings and cool, sunshiney days.  It makes me yearn for another climb of Denali.  It's getting close to season for America's highest peak.  Here is a flashback to that time in my climbing history.  I am no stranger to outdoor drama!  http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2007/aug/26/dangerous-descent-in-denali/

And finally, to answer a frequent question, No, I don't have an expedition going this summer.  I am strapped still from the Pakistan debacle and will do some backpacking in the Rocky Mountains in late June with my friend John Davis.  Next spring, however, watch out!

I hope everyone gets to enjoy this delicious springtime.  In closing I would like to share this podcast interview with my friend JD Schlandt.  JD is closing in on his third complete lap in the Smokies.  JD has helped me tremendously with my taxes and has supported SFW.  It is an interesting interview if you get the time.


This is JD's website:    http://trailhard.net/