GSMNP backcountry campsite stats

Below is plot of yearly Smokies backcountry campsite usage from 1979 thru 2014, based on data from nps.gov Prior to 1972, backcountry camping was largely unregulated, specifying only distance restrictions from park roads and water resources. In 1973, a designated site camping policy was implemented. Backcountry visitation peaked in 1976 (115,300 overnight stays) reference.

and here are monthly totals for the busy year 1997, for 2008, 2009, 2012, 2014, and averages for 1979-2009

2012 data, suspiciously similar numbers for some months year to year??

The most used backcountry camps in 2008, were Icewater Spring Shelter, Lower Walnut Bottoms, Cosby Knob Shelter, Mt LeConte Shelter, and Pecks Corner Shelter. Least used: Possum Hollow, Lone Pine, Hesse Creek, and Goldmine Branch (from 2008 backcountry site usage). For 2009, most used were Icewater Springs,Lower Walnut Bottoms, LeConte, Spence Field, Cosby Knob, Mt Sterling, Mt Collins, from 2009 backcountry site usage. Also see Characteristics of Winter Backcountry Use in Great Smoky Mountains National Park 1984.

For comparison, AT through hiker stats

In 2013, a backcountry camp fee ($4) was imposed, see backcountry camping


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Tom Dunigan TNlandforms.US