Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced that changes to its current backcountry reservation and permitting process will take effect on February 13, 2013. On that date, backcountry reservations and permits will be available at www.smokiespermits.nps.gov. Bookmark this site, though the website doesn’t seem to be live right now.
Here are the details:
As reported last March, the National Park Service approved the Park’s proposal to begin collecting fees for use of the Park’s backcountry campsites and shelters. The changes include a $4 per person, per night fee for backcountry camping. The fee will be used to provide increased customer service for backcountry trip planning, reservations, permits and the backcountry experience.
A park-specific reservation and permit system, to which users will have 24/7 access, will allow backcountry campers to make reservations and obtain permits online from anywhere internet access is available. Reservations may be made at any time up to 30 days in advance, allowing maximum flexibility for those making last minute plans. Backcountry users will no longer be required to call the Backcountry Office to obtain reservations. Reservation and permit requests will also be accepted in person at the Backcountry Office, which is located at the Sugarlands Visitor Center.
Backcountry Office hours will be expanded with additional staff available to provide trip planning assistance both over the phone and in person. In addition, the Park will expand its backcountry Ranger presence to better protect park resources through enforcement of food-storage and other regulations and improved visitor education regarding Leave-No-Trace principles.
For general backcountry information or backcountry reservations, call the Backcountry Office at 865-436-1297.