The money should be spent on healing the impacts of tourism on the natural world and habitats in this region, not on advertising to draw more people here. Our lovely, magical outdoor spaces are horribly overrun, abused and trashed. Now locals are losing access to our treasured wild spaces such as Purchase Knob and Max Patch.
We need paid rangers, monitors and trail maintainers. Places like Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Shining Rock, waterfalls and others in the Pisgah National Forest are eroded, jampacked and overused. The Pisgah Forest Service, and the Great Smoky Mountains and Blue Ridge Parkway national parks are understaffed, underfunded and underresourced, and volunteers are relied on to do so much to pick up the slack.
The tourism fund could be used to provide paying jobs for locals to be out in the parks and forests making sure visitors practice “leave no trace”; park only where they are supposed to; do trail work; and prevent mapless tourists from getting lost in the woods.
— Tamera Trexler