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Smokies to collect $4 per day backcountry fee

By news admin

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) - The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is changing its backcountry reservation and permitting process.

Beginning early next year, the park will collect a $4 per person per night fee for backcountry camping.

The money collected from the fees will be used to improve customer service for backcountry trip planning, reservations and permits.

Backcountry Office hours will be expanded with additional staff available. In addition, there will be greater enforcement of issues like food storage from park rangers assigned to the backcountry.

The park will also begin allowing backcountry campers to make reservations and obtain permits online.

The new website should be available within the first few months of 2013.