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Lawsuit Over New Smoky Mountain Fee Can Continue

Lawsuit Over New Smoky Mountain Fee Can Continue

CREATED Mar 28, 2014

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A federal judge has ruled that a lawsuit over backcountry camping fees implemented last year at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park can move forward.

However, Eastern District of Kentucky Senior Judge Joseph Hood dismissed a portion of the lawsuit that challenges an online reservation system.

According to media reports, Hood said in his ruling this week that South Forest Watch had failed to show any harm from the reservation system. However, he said the organization has the standing to challenge the fee.

The park began mandating use of an online reservation system and charging a $4 per person, per night fee for use of its backcountry campsites and shelters on Feb. 13, 2013.

The case will be heard in U.S. District Court in Knoxville.

(Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)