Cane Creek via Goldmine 5/12/12

Laurel blooms were in abundance this beautiful weekend.

Common Bluebell is somewhat withered.

Flowering galax with it's tell tale wands.

Common tinkerbells in Highlander camp.  I meet Jerky Mike and Slap in campsite 2.  Slap came in from Cooper Road and Jerky Mike began at Abrams via Wet Bottoms.  We now have two full fledged Highlanders on the 900.5 quest and two future initiates closing in on their maps. (Will not pictured because he was on the AT celebrating his 40th birthday with all his friends.  In his own words, we are all too stupid to understand vet medicine and until we get our doctorate degrees the true heavy thinking should be left to the likes of him)  Anyway, these girls both hiked in at least 8 miles each so there was no shame in accepting a shuttle from me the next rainy morning back to the cove to retrieve their automobiles.  As I said, there is no shame whatsoever in modifiying your plan as a result of weather.  No need for embarrassment.  I wouldn't give it a second thought, awriiight?

Slap devised this hot dog cooking machine.

Our only company in the "overcrowded" Smokies backcountry was Ben and Claire from S. Carolina.  Here, Jerky Mike is seen expounding upon the  intricacies of backcountry etiquette that dictates you cook a meal for your camp hosts on your first Smokies backpack.  "Now, take me for example,  I like my pizza a little brown along the edges.  I'll take some hot sauce with it and if you don't mind, use your own stove and fuel."

I took a side trip to the end of Cane Creek and ended up following a trail that looked like a manway but ended up being a bear trail.  I was trying to find the secret link to Blackberry farms from THIS epic but also..................

Cane Creek is now my officially adopted trail as a volunteer for the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.  It was chosen by me for several reasons.  First was ease of access.  Second was to monitor potential future incursions by Blackberry Farms like the one we encountered HERE.  (It is also a great opportunity to view the Jerky Mike saw dance video, it is a Highlander classic)


Anyway, I did not expect to see this trail threat.  It's not a 4wd truck, it is a tank tracked vehicle and they run the entire length of Cane Creek.  My thought is that the NPS in it's infinite wisdom decided to drive down there and "inspect" the trail.  I noticed no significant blowdown that would warrant these heavy handed tactics.  And to think we were worried about horses.

  If ever there were a need for a watchdog group in the Smokies, this is quite illustrative.  The Southern Forest Watch is pursuing non profit status through the hard work of Gregg Bostick.  We are also thrilled to have the addition of a talented branding agency and web design company add their talents to our coalition.  Michael Shannon has taken on the Southern Forest Watch and is in the process of giving us an image improvement.  His work is incredible and we all anxiously look forward to the results of his artistic talents and the collaboration of his subsidiary company.  For examples of his art or if you are in need of this type of service, I encourage you to patronize his company and remember who is supportive of these efforts to stop the Smokies backcountry fee.  We are very fortunate to have many people donate their time and talents to expose the lies and manipulations driving this tax on use of the backcountry in the Smokies.

If you want to see the kind of dishonesty with which we are dealing at the Sugarlands, check out this document we secured via our most recent Freedom of Information Act Request.  This document was internal between Ditmanson and his Superiors in Washington.  Here he stretches the truth to mis represent the opposition to his ill conceived plan.

Three glaring obfuscations :

  First, Ditmanson summarily discounted the signatures on the petitions we forwarded.  He did not count them in his tally because he said, "they didn't count as comments."

  Second, notice where they say that congressional reps were generally not receiving any negative feedback.  Well, I've got about 30 documented emails from people to Duncan, Corker and Alexander.  In fact, all three offices confirmed that Ditmanson's characterization was "incorrect" including Bob Griffitts, Duncan's chief of staff.  I have another document from Ditmanson to his bosses clearly saying that the congressman and senate offices of both TN and NC have received NO calls or concerns about the proposal.  When I confronted Ditmansons' superior in a letter with this blatant falsehood, David Vela, regional supervisor in Atlanta actually had the nerve to tell me, "We were referring to a specific week in time when we contacted the reps about this"  Can you believe that.  It's like picking a moment around lunchtime and saying that because you didn't see any stars in the sky, there were none evident that day to be observed.


 Third,  the ATC clearly stated their opposition to the Fee.  The tally of dissenting comments was 827 to 45 in favor.  The NPS skews data to suit their purposes.  We are not going to let them do this.  Help support our cause and spread the word.     our ongoing conversation occurs here